For the first time in my entire life I screamed like a Beatles fan.
I’ve yelled and cheered and hollered and hooted and even gobbed in my long and varied gig-going career, but never before have I screamed. The full aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah shaking your head making Munch faces tearing your hair thing.
That’s what Take That do to me. I can’t help it. I love them. They make my ageing hormones go pop.
So when the one minute count down to their appearance on stage at Wembley Stadium on Monday night (July 4th) reached zero and there they suddenly were, live on stage, sharing air with me, even several hundred metres away, I screamed. We all did. Eightyfour thousand nine hundred and ninety eight women and about two men. This fabulously amateur bit of video above, from the Sunderland concert really catches the atmosphere (and watching it just now gave me goose bumps…)
And that was just the come back four. The concert was brilliantly divided into three acts. Starting with the material from when Guy, Mark, Howard and….. JASON AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH re-formed back in 2008. All the great tracks like Hold On (swoon…) and Patience.
I screamed, I sang, I danced, I hugged my friend Saska and the total stranger on the other side.
Then they went off (after a spectacularly dopy sequence with dancers dressed as fairy tale characters) and some very familiar opening chords boomed out. There he was ROBBIE!!!!!!!!!!!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH all over again. Making what must be one of the greatest live entrances of all time. More amateur video follows…
Let me entertain you, he sang, and boy, he did. He hammed it up like the vaudeville star he is. The only person who comes near him for on stage energy is Mr Pop. Robbie looks like he could explode with it at any moment. Leaping around like a fool and singing like a master. God, he’s got a good voice.
I could remember Madonna, the last time I went to that site, back in the 80s to the old stadium, trying to skip about and sing at the same time and so not pulling it off. Get into the, puff, groove, puff, wheeze…
Robbie can sing while he’s doing a cartwheel and he’s nearly forty. The man is a force of nature. I love his music, I adore his cheekiness and I love that we grew up a few miles from each other, it makes me feel like I own a piece of him.
Fancy some pobs, Rob? (sorry you’d have to be a Stookie to get that…)
I also think his lyrics are amazing. If you don’t believe me, listen to Me and My Monkey. A work of brilliance. This one he’s singing below’s not bad either, Come Undone. ‘I’ve contemplated thinking about thinking, it’s overrated, just get another drink in…’
But even solo Robbie pales next to the collective marvel that is the five boys of Take That together. It’s some kind of magical alchemical formula. The whole is so very much greater than the sum of the parts, but when they’re together, singing their brilliant pop songs, old and new, they have an effect on women like no one else.
Nearly two million women (really, there were hardly any men there, it was hilarious) are going to see them on this tour. Not even the Beatles managed that.
I’ve tried to analyse what it is and I can’t nail it. For me it’s a no brainer. I have a fetish for cheeky boys from northern England, where I grew up, because they remind me of the first boys I kissed. Particularly the gorgeous Jason Orange, with his wonderful bony face. No southerners look like that. It’s a particular bone structure and it sends me.
He’s also a wonderful dancer, our Jason, in the great twinkle toes Northern Soul tradition and the hits that first made me like them – Everything Changes But You was the first one I loved – are based on the particular heavy beat and quick tempo of that music. It makes you want to spin on one foot like Jason can. Sigh…
So that’s why I love them, but I don’t entirely understand the mass fetish. I’d love to know your thoughts on it.
And what is particularly interesting to me about Take That AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH now is that they are so much more attractive as a man band, with their lived-in looking faces, than they were as freshly minted hairless boys.
Aren’t men lucky about that?