Take That @ Metro Radio Arena

Manc man-band deliver belated Christmas present

I still remember the sinking feeling shortly after hitting the “buy” button. Was that really £398 I’d paid for two tickets to see Take That?

Tickets to see Take That were suggested as a Christmas present idea. Having procrastinated for too long and missed the regular scramble for tickets, I resorted to a secondary ticketing website. After spending an age comparing and contrasting different seating options and prices on each of the sites, I settled on my choice. I continued with purpose to the payment screen, acutely aware that the clock was ticking and I may lose the prized tickets if I delayed. I clicked “buy” and sat back, quietly satisfied with myself.

Hang on, was that not supposed to be around £290? Undo undo undo! Where did the £82.38 “booking fee”, £9.95 delivery fee and £16.48 VAT come from? You swines! Can I return them? “It’s not possible to cancel or exchange tickets once a purchase has been made as orders are considered final. If you cannot use the tickets you purchased and there is still time before the event date, we advise you to re-list them by clicking on the “Sell” link on the event that you have tickets for.”

So the moral of this tale is to always read the total before you click “buy”. And that secondary ticketing sites are the work of the devil.

Christmas arrived and a print-out of the confirmation email had to serve as the gift.

A few months later and the gig finally arrives. A nice meal beforehand at George’s Great British Kitchen with a bottle of Haviestoun Bitter & Twisted.

All Saints provided the support and did a nice little set encompassing all of their big hits from the 90s. Gone are the cargo pants but the synchronised shimmying and striding remain the same. They finished with Pure Shores which sounded great.

The oestrogen levels were palpable as Take That prepared to take to the stage at around 8.30pm.

The gig was performed “in the round”, so all parts of the arena had a decent view. The band emerged separately at opposite ends of the arena and made their way down narrow gaps in the crowd to the stage, whilst performing opener Wonderland.

Throughout the show there was constantly changing scenery, lighting and projected images and a seemingly endless stream of dancers and performers. There was some loose concept around the performance (which went over my head) interspersed with spoken word interludes. The band themselves sported some unusual clothing lines; Mark was rocking some high heeled boots to give him an extra lift, Howard sported some MC Hammer clown pants in a range of colours, Gary was no-nonsense.

The music spanned their career but mostly concentrated on their material from after their rebirth as a stadium indie/electro pop band. The energy levels barely dropped throughout the set, only slowing slightly when a tabla player joined the band for an acoustic medley section in the middle of the set.

The light show for The Flood was particularly impressive (should have shot the video below in landscape). They finished with Never Forget and Rule The World, with mobile phone lights aloft around the arena.

It was impressive stuff – more of a theatrical production than a gig in many ways but with tickets priced at £95 (face value) you want to see something special. All in all, a really good evening’s entertainment and well worth £398 of hard earned cash (hmmm). Next time I really must remember to be on the ball when tickets go on sale.

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