Electricity & Lust

Take That @ O2 Arena, 30th November 2007

Posted in Live, Music, Sam by Sam Unsted on December 5, 2007

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So I’m not really a regular stadium concert-goer. My general place to witness music is often within mid-sized venues around the capital, also mostly watching proportionally left-of-centre acts rather than chart-topping uber-stars. I tell you of this not to boast my indie authenticity (which I don’t have) or my taste in music (which is fairly strong I’m sometimes/rarely/never told). I tell you this because I want you to understand how alien this experience was to me. I don’t see concerts like this. Possibly though, it’s likely that very few people of this world ever see concerts like this.

Spectacular doesn’t really begin to describe the goings-on of tonight. The two support acts vary in quality, the first being a chirpy dimwit on a saxamaphone screeching sensually and then singing a truly misguided song about the environment. Sophie Ellis Bextor though is pretty good, strutting around the stage on her stilt-like legs and exuding charm in her banter. But really, no one’s here for them.

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The That come out to ‘Reach Out’ but its the build-up that makes it. They keep us in suspense with a bizarre visual interpretation of the songs from ‘Beautiful World’ and then, just as the screaming reaches ear-drum piercing levels, they arise from behind their podiums and belt out the song. The noise is deafening. I’ve seen some loud bands in my time but the screams, oh the screams.

From there on in, they just set out attempting to top themselves the whole way through. The stand out moments are the most showy and lavish, notably a slowed version of ‘Could It Be Magic’ during which four of the group’s very limber dancers are raised above the second stage (oh yes, they have a second stage) and shower confetti over the performing Barlow.

Gary is a star of a number of tracks, particularly on his dextrous, sensual dance with Howard during ‘Everything Changes’ and, well, all the rest of his dancing. Always the heavier of the group, his dancing is a mix of timing and honesty. He knows he can’t always keep up and rather than over-exert, GB just takes a couple of steps out and creates an accessible dance for the folks at home to try while the other three show off.

I have to say that almost every song was a winner but the three best moments were as follows:

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1. Everyone with their hands in the air during ‘Never Forget’. A true moment of That unity.

2. The fact they performed ‘Give Good Feeling’ at all is amazing but that they turned it into a casio-funk groove-a-thon replete with hoodies and just before a live mash-up of Relight My Fire with Gnarls’ ‘Crazy’; too good. Good feeling given.

3. Mark’s grandiose version of ‘Shine’, recreating the stairways to heaven video and with a jolly breakdown. Musically the best moment of the whole night.

So all right, many will doubt the That. The indie kids yet to learn the lessons of humility and those still unwilling to put down their shield against The Pop, they’ll hate it. But those of you not immuned to tunes, showmanship and entertainment, look no further. Slap a clean fifty down and get in there before GB hits the solo circuit again.

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One Response

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  1. Laura said, on April 2, 2008 at 12:46 am

    I dont think Gary will be going anywhere this time, the boys are the kings of comeback and I think they are here to stay. His dancing was great too! But I am biased…anyway it was as you have indicated an amazing gig and few people will understand unless they have witnessed it.


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