I have to agree here. Your enjoyment of the concert is purely down to the luck of who you are standing or sitting near. I was at Manchester last night and I got there at 9am to queue and was near the front of the C gate. Queueing was fine with all in good humour, though towards 4pm the women behind us were getting a bit gobby as they were drinking Bacardi. They brought chairs with them to sit on in the queue and just discarded them when the gates opened, along with brollies and half-empty bottles of booze too - jute shopping bags and unused food were also thrown away. Very wasteful and it happened a lot, with people buying cheap chairs to sit on then just throwing them away.
The rules about "no food and only sealed water bottles" is insane and purely just to boost profits from the vendors in the arena. Take That should demand that a) no booze is served inside, and b) we are allowed to bring our own food. I smuggled in two pasta pots and had a sealed water bottle as I wasn't going to pay £4.50 for a glass or wine of God knows how much for a poor quality burger.
I wanted a seat so I could look over everyone's heads, and also because previous gig experience with other bands has made me sick of having to defend my standing territory and ward off leaners and shovers, not to mention drunk idiots with entitlement issues. I chose a row 13 up from the bottom opposite the B stage, bril view :D Soon, the row filled up and just my luck- a group of cackling fishwives in personalised tshirts sat down next to me, booze in hand. I should have moved then and there but everything was filling up so fast I stayed put. From the minute they sat down they were up and down shuffling past me to either buy more booze or go to the loos. Their cackling got worse and worse, the screeching started, the swearing, and then they made friends with more fishwives and their husbands behind them. One loudly declared she was 48 to which I was dying to reply "you should know how to control your drinking then, you dishevelled Harpie". When one of the husbands of this new found friendship offered to get her some food she squawked "ohhh I'll suck your c*ck if you do that" to him, before finding out that his wife was seated 3 seats away. Behind me, a teenage daughter of Cackler no. 2 just sat in silence, probably mortified.
We sat for 2 hours waiting for the PSB to come on and I got sick of moving to let them out to pee - buy drink - pee - buy drink. By the time TT came on, Fishwife behind me was crying and streaked with mascara, reaching over to paw her daughter who was desperately trying to ignore her - so she pawed her husband instead, and the Fishwives in my row were screaming and cackling and one had what looked like yellow puke on her tshirt. Classy. The two ladies in the row in front of us were directing sideways glances at them and you could tell they were fed up of being screeched at in their ears every few minutes. Even people in the aisle opposite me were sideways glancing and looking annoyed. "Look at thaaaa....just lookarit, innit F***ING BRILLIANT" screamed one of them as she took in the full stadium. When the countdown began for the boys to come on stage she screamed "OH MAH GODDD I'M SO EXCIIIITED I'M LITERALLEH PISSIN MASELF".
I had an aisle seat and all thru the gig there was a stream of people going and up and down the stairs with booze. The stadium must have made a killing but at what price to the sacrifice of enjoyment of so many? Drunk people started standing in the stairway and a nervous young steward moved them out the way, then they tried to shove in and stand on my row, and when I refused to move they swore and complained loud enough for me to hear. There was an air of tension wherever there were drunk people because you don't know how they will react if you turn round and tell them to shut the hell up. A drunk lady shoved into the row behind me while the teen girls were away in the loo, and they were "wooooooooo" screaming about 6" from my earhole. I turned to glare and wince at them and they saw me but didn't care and keept WOOOOing. They were moved on when the teens came back from the loo.
When the lovely ballerina had finished her dancing to one of the songs, Jason asked the audience to thank her and a bored and drunk husband's voice boomed from behind me "oh you can shove f***ing [dancer's name] right up my a*se". Later he started singing Queen "Bicycle song", so bored was he to be at the gig. Ladies. if your husband doesn't want to see TT, LEAVE THEM AT HOME.
While I was filming one of the songs on my digicam I was tapped on the shoulder and drunkenly asked "are you filming for professional reasons?????" to which I responded "Does this look like a f*cking professional camera?" and turned away, waiting for the blows to start being rained down on me.
When I left the gig I was lucky to be sleeping at a friend's house right near the Velodrome, so I walked that way, passing pink limos, Land Rover limos, and Hummer limos. I remembered in the queue some passing ladies squawked how they'd "had champagne on the bus". It seems that going to a gig now involves flashy cars, "getting off your trolley", and behaving like 20-somethings on a hen night. WHY?
My main observation is that the 18 year olds who loved TT the first time around, are now 40+ year old (supposedly) responsible mothers but at this gig, they regressed to their boozing inconsiderate, loutish days of youth once more. In front of their children. One mum said to her daughter "whatever mummy does after 7pm you have to forget about". What a shining example. The majority of the audience were 40+ mothers and I can't help thinking teens may have been better behaved, they'd probably have just screamed very loudly a la Beatles style, and would have been too young to buy booze.
While making my way out of the venue I passed the fishwives from my row, with their stained tshirts and still squawking, they were hugging and slobbering on eahother and declaring it to be a "f***ing brilliant night". Maybe for them but it killed a lot of the evening for me.
Take That, PLEASE ban booze from future gigs. Then at least if people drink in the queues, they will have a couple of hours to sober up before the main gig starts.
Regarding the actual gig, well.....I'm not a fan of the PROGRESS album, I don't like any of the songs from it. I wish I'd gone to see the Circus tour, and I love the stuff from their other albums. However I wanted to see the Five reunited with a promise of hearing some of their old hits as well as the new.
Discounting the Fishwives, the stadium was packed with a great atmosphere and I had a smashing view - side seats are the way to go for a clear view of everything. The lads came out (just the foursome) and opened with Rule the World, and Greatest Day - which I LOVE. To hear the crowd singing along and see the arms aloft was a sight to behold :D THe finale of "Never forget" was a tour de force.
However, I disagree with Robbie having near 20 minutes to sing his own hits. The foursome disappeared and the visuals on the screen started, with the opening bars of "let me entertain you" - an awesome song which made the stadium pretty much explode, but it also knocked right out the ballpark the 'tame by comparison' screams of the foursome's entrance at the very start.
Love him or hate him, Robbie is an excellent showman and is the only one IMO who can whip a crowd up in the way that Freddie Mercury used to do. He had 55,000 people bouncing with their arms aloft, it was fantastic. He belted out his biggest hits including the self-serving "Come undone" and as he stood and surveyed the crowd you could see "SMUG" written across his face. He knew damn well he'd got the biggest reaction of the night so far (and prob every night of the tour), and he knew that the other four TT lads knew it. I think that if this gig was all about celebrating "Robbie's return to the fold" then they would have been better singing 20 minutes of their old hits, with Robbie back where he should be doing the vocals. Instead, his solo spot served to remind us all that while TT faded into obscurity, Robster ruled the world for a short while. This just seemed to highlight the whole separation that the band had been through.
When the lads came back on and were a fivesome they did some more songs from "Progress". Word to Gary - stop giving Mark lead vocals, he CANNOT SING. He sounds like someone singing while being strangled. On one of the songs he was drowned out by the music, so weak is his voice.
They did a quick compendium of their old hits while sitting at the piano, and Jason gave a little speech about how it was nice there were 5 of them again, he started saying "when Robbie left 15 years ago" and was loudly interrupted by Robbie yelling "NO - WHEN I WAS SACKED". Jason tried to continue saying again "When Robbie left" but was interrupted again by "no - you said that it was all my fault", and it just seemed an uncomfortable moment. When I'd watched the behind the scenes documentary about them recording the new album, I detected some tensions between Robbie and Jason, and I think they are still there.
Robbie also declined to sing "Everything changes" on the grounds that it "did his head in". You see, it's all about Robbie...he didn't want to sing it regardless of whether the other lads did or if the crowd wanted to hear it. Later on he announced the band and put his name first, and during "The flood" the boys were lowered in cages from the top of the stage but Robbie had to do a head first dive while secured by a wire.
I'm sure that he will also be fully aware that this tour will remind all his fans of his cracking days of "Escapology" and "I've been expecting you", and boost his cred a bit after his previous albums that flopped (when I mentioned "Rudebox" to some girls in the queue they snorted with laughter and rolled their eyes).
So I have a bet with myself that Rob won't be "back for good" with Take That - he's just too much a "force of nature" so to speak, and his ego is just TOO BIG to become a backing singer once more.
To sum up, I enjoyed the gig, wish I'd been away from the boozers, but my "Best gig ever" are still the Kylie Showgirl gigs, sorry! They were utter class from start to finish with NO drunkenness at all. So be warned girls, if you go to a TT gig and end up standing or sitting near anyone dressed in cowboy hats and personalised tshirts, move elsewhere - ESPECIALLY if they are boozing!
My compilation footage and stills of the gig is here:
Footage with the actual gig audio is here, be warned you will cry during "Angels"!