Take That came to Tyneside and delivered a visual extravaganza for the roaring masses of dedicated fans.
The news of Jason Orange’s departure last year came hard for the faithful following on from the end of Robbie Williams’ brief return to the fold.
So last night, the first of two dates in Newcastle, it was the band’s first outing as three-piece but there were no complaints from the thousands of satisfied fans who greeted the new ensemble with shrieks of appreciation.
It was four years since Take That graced the Arena and Gary Barlow introduced himself and his fellow band members, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, as ‘what’s left of Take That’.
This sent everyone into a frenzy, but to be honest everyone went into frenzy every time a band member uttered a single syllable.
The set was magnificent complete with three huge screens, a human hamster wheel and an undulating walkway that encased some of the standing guests who were lucky enough to have the best view in the house.
The band was heralded on stage by bicycle riders, men with masks and ladies in smart suits. After a lengthy build up and much anticipation from the capacity crowd, they arrived on stage and began with I Like It followed by Love Love. It was Greatest Day that had the by now animated thousands singing along.
The trio were on stage for over two hours delivering more than 20 songs against the backdrop of dancing and theatricals. We had flames, fireworks, flying bikes galore and an acrobat spinning on a giant sun suspended from the ceiling.
While tracks from the new album III got a good show, it was the boys’ greatest hits that really got the crowd going including Pray, Back For Good and Relight My Fire and Could It Be Magic.
A huge nod of appreciation for the amazing choreography for new tracks including I Like It, while the trio went through the original moves for Pray and Could It Be Magic. Even the audience was trying to copy, although not as smoothly as the chaps.
I loved the way that the wider orchestra was part of the show, with costume changes, singing and general hand waving. I thought that was really clever and you almost didn’t notice as there was so much going on.
And the best bit of the show, was when Gary, Howard and Mark soared gently above the crowd in a suspended bicycle and side-car. It was a feast for the eyes.
The remaining band members delivered a grand spectacle which left fans in no doubt that their music and showmanship is still appreciated. They ended with Rule the World and everyone held up their phones to twinkle in the dark.
And they came back for another visually stunning encore with Shine and Never Forget.
Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen are still very much convincing as a trio and they deliver a fantastic show which is fun and engaging.
They are hard to beat on that front. And anyone who has ticket for the second night is in for a treat.
Take That were also admirably supported by Ella Henderson who delivered a 30 minute set to warm up for the main show.