Back in 2006 the reunited Take That embarked on the Ultimate tour which was in support of the Greatest Hits package Never Forget. This was the first time they had performed together since their split 10 years prior. Robbie Williams who quit the band in 1995 was not part of this newly reunited man band. Later that year they released Beautiful World which consited of 11 brand new songs. The first single Patience and album both shot to #1. December 2008 saw the 4 piece release The Circus which again went to the top of the charts and when they toured that album it was one spectacular event. We then get to November 2010 the bands 6th studio album was released and Mr Robbie Williams had returned to the band. So when the Progress tour was announced there was going to be alot of interest for tickets. When they went on sale many ticket companies weren’t able to cope with the high velocity of people who wanted to purchase tickets. They had booked 8 nights at Wembley Stadium which beat the record held by Michael Jackson’s Bad World Tour back in 1988. Thankfully I managed to get tickets after 6 hours of trying.
So 1st July then came and I arrived outside Gate H or J a little after 12pm. People were sectioned off in pens and I was in the 3rd section. In the end it was a wise decision to come early as around 4pm the queue was stretching down the sloped walkway. The gates then opened about 4.45pm and when I was inside I then ran down the steps to the pitch. Ideally running down the shallow steps was not the wisest thing to do but I did reach the bottom in one piece. There was a bit of barrier that I spotted but that was too far away from the centre of the stage so I headed to the walkway instead. Once at the 3rd row from barrier I checked my phone to display the time only to find out it was 5pm. There was 150 minutes of standing till the support act took to the stage. It didn’t help that everyone was sitting down meaning I had to stand. Pet Shop Boys took to the stage around 7.30pm. I was looking forward to this set as I have been a fan since the 90s. When Pet Shop Boys were confirmed as the support act for the Progress tour there were some upset Take That fans as last year acts supporting them included James Morrison, The Script and Lady GaGa. The set played was kept to 10 songs and when you have a massive repertoire of you are going to get some big tracks left out. After seeing them play has made me want to see them live again. Even though no one around me was singing along they were definately enjoying this 30 minute slot. The set consisted of classic Pet Shop Boys songs. Even if you cannot remember how the song goes when you just see the title you would definately recognise it the moment the first verse kicks in. Also included in this short set was the bands recent single Together where various people in the crowd were shown on the big screen.
Always On My Mind
Left To My Own Devices
Se A Vida É (That’s The Way Life Is)
It’s A Sin
West End Girls
30 minutes later it was time for the big event. This was the reason why tickets sold out in a flash. This was history in the making not only had Take That broken the record with playing 8 nights at Wembley Stadium but Robbie Williams had rejoined the band after quitting in 1995. The set was broken into three parts. Part 1 was Take That (w/o Robbie), Part 2 Robbie and Part 3 Take That (w/ Robbie). The crowd were pumped up from the moment the countdown appeared on the big screen. So as the countdown reached zero the Gary, Mark, Jason and Howard took to the stage for the opening song Rule The World. Their vocals were superb and you expected they would be. Also the set design was fantastic. From the moment they took to the stage you could tell this was going to be an epic show. After when Rule The World finished the band ran down the catwalk to the B Stage for Greatest Day. Towards the end there was an explosion of yellow ticker tape. The upbeat Hold Up A Light was next and I remember dancers on the catwalk swinging balls which were producing alot of smoke because bright sparks were in these balls. Personally this wasn’t my favourite Take That song. “Good evening Wembley Stadium” Barlow said to the packed crowd. “How can we play a National Stadium without attempting the National Anthem” Mark Owen told the crowd before everyone put their hands on their hearts to sing this Anthem. Up next was the song that reunited the band this being the slow paced Patience. Now Shine has to be one of my favourite songs and there was an Alice In Wonderland theme to it. Plus there was a purple caterpillar whom was blowing bubbles out of a pipe. Also there were bumble bees on rollerskates. Towards the end the band came back to the main stage and went behind the big screen as their set had ended.
A short video of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was played on the screen and Robbie Williams was the white rabbit playing the banjo. After there was another video interlude with just Williams which resulted in an incredible entrance. He appeared from the middle of the screen and flew out via a harness. The first song of what was to be a 5 song set was Let Me Entertain You and entertained I was. Williams set had reached fever pitch everyone was going crazy. “Hello London you remember me”. This performance left me hot under the collar as there were flames shot into the air and I could feel its temperature from where I was standing. The upbeat Rock DJ was next and again Williams changed the words. “Wembley Do You Hear Me?” Williams said during the song ad libbing one of its lyrics. Robbie had alot of dancers on roller skates with him on stage. Williams owned that stage and he was clearly enjoying himself. Once the song was over Robbie made up a skit on the spot. “London I’m Your Son” Williams said during Come Undone. I would have to say Come Undone has to be my favourite song off the album Escapology. Towards the end of the song he added bits of Bootylicious, Take A Walk On The Wild Side and Irreplaceable. Next he did a tiny bit of opera which went down well. “Popstar to Operastar I’ll sh*t it”. There was then a massive Mexican Wave to celebrate this acheivement. It was then onto Feel and this was truly something as he Taxied over the crowd while singing this wonderful song. “Come And Hold My Hand” Robbie said before the start of this song. Ending his short 5 song set was Angels. This song probably defined his career and this song is the showpiece of Williams’s 20 year career in the music industry. This was a lovely emotional ballad which went down a storm with the crowd. Maybe on Robbie’s solo slots we will see him play at venues by himself, who knows? Based on that short performance it would seem he now has the confidence. After Angels had finished Williams stumbled and fell down backwards into a pit. There was then another interlude involving acrobats whom were on harnesses. This gave time for the reunited 5 piece get to the summit of the stage. The minute when the song kicked in I wondered where they were and all I had to do was look up only to see them standing in 5 seperate cages at the summit of the stage.
This song was The Flood which was the first single to be taken from Progress. Williams came onto the stage via harness while the others cages acted as a lift to the bottom of the stage. Initially I thought there would be plenty of water that made the first couple of rows wet but this wasn’t the case. SOS was up next and this song should really be a single as it’s one of my favourites from Progress. This was a catchy song and the dance moves were wonderful. The majority of Underground Machine was sung by Robbie Willams. Again they made use of the B Stage for this song. They were still at this stage for Kidz. From what I could see there was a chess them to this song. There was some break dancing from Howard and Jason plus a snippet of Robbie’s song Rudebox. They end the song by coming back to the main stage. Mark was waving a Take That flag in the air. It was then onto the beautiful Pretty Things. There was a ballerina on stage with the boys. Once the song was over the guys posed for a group photo and also they recreated the front cover to debut album Take That And Party by jumping up in the air. It was then onto a medley of songs from the 90s. First they started with Take That And Party, Do What You Like and It Only Takes A Minute which did gain screams. Kicking off the medley was A Million Love Songs which was Gary Barlows beautiful piano driven ballad. Mark Owens Babe was next and I love this song ashame it was so short. The medley ended with the fast paced Everything Changes which was sung by Robbie Williams. Drinks to toast each other were then brought up to the stage and placed on top of the piano. Gary, Jason and Howard had red wine while Robbie and Mark had milk. Back For Good was next and there was plenty of singing along and arm swaying to this beautiful song. Pray was played immediately after and this song was a real crowd pleaser. The dance moves were superb.
The brand new single Love Love was next amd Robbie, Mark, Jason and Howard were on this robot which came out into the crowd (Well down the catwalk). Gary was standing on the platform which was pulling the robot down the catwalk. “Has everybody had a good night tonight” Barlow said before playing Never Forget on the B Stage. This song turned out to be a massive sing a long and there was plenty of clapping during the chorus. Another Robbie song was next and this being No Regrets what made this special was that the rest of the band were providing the harmonies. However this was only one verse and then they launched into Relight My Fire. Robbie sang Lulu’s bit and did mix up one line. The night ended with another slow paced song this being Eight Letters. The Eight Letters, Three Words, One Meaning is I Love You. This song was also known as being the Thankyou Circuit and there was alot of crushing as people wanted to get a handshake or just touch the hand of one of the members of the band. Still this was a lovely way to end what was one fantastic show.
Rule The World
Hold Up A Light
Let Me Entertain You
Million Love Songs/ Babe/ Everything Changes
Back For Good
Relight My Fire
OVERALL: This was one amazing show. I class shows as being big budget productions and this was one of them. I enjoyed myself immensly and I am glad I was 3rd/ 2nd row away from the barrier because if your nowhere near it does kind of spoil the event for you. Everything about this show was amazing. Pet Shop Boys were fantastic, Robbie looked more comfortable and Take That were breathtaking. The show didn’t end until 10.45 and I didn’t get home till gone 1am. I look forward to owning the DVD of this incredible event.