Pop superstars Take That welcome their fans to Wonderland on their tour’s opening night
PUBLISHED: 07:48 11 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:53 08 June 2017
About 60,000 music fans are set to head to Norwich’s Carrow Road in June to see the final two UK dates of Take That’s Wonderland tour. Arts correspondent Emma Knights went to the tour’s opening night in Birmingham to find out more about the show.
With their latest tour Take That promised to take their fans to Wonderland, and on their opening night in Birmingham’s Genting Arena they did so in spectacular style.
Carnival fun, outlandish costumes, amazing light displays and one big brightly coloured party was the backdrop to the crazy dreamlike show which saw Mark Owen, Gary Barlow and Howard Donald perform songs from their new Wonderland album mixed in with old classics.
The band are well known for their phenomenal concerts, which in the past have featured everything from a giant mechanical elephant to a flying machine, and this latest tour is once again a stunning sight to behold.
Flying on a magic carpet, a single sitar player led the 12,000-strong audience for Friday’s show into the mesmerising world of Wonderland.
And from the moment Take That appeared from within the audience, singing the title track of their new album, they wowed the crowds who simultaneously wowed Take That.
“This is our opening night of the tour. We cannot believe after all these years you guys are still here to see us. Thank you so much,” said Gary, who that night also revealed a new-look hair style similar to his 1990s peroxide blonde days.
A giant version of Take That’s famous logo was at the heart of the action throughout the show – forming the impressive main stage which was ever-changing and completely surrounded by the audience.
From here the trio and their incredible team of dancers and musicians took the audience on a rollercoaster ride through Take That hits past and present.
Kicking off with Wonderland followed by Greatest Day, the entire arena was filled with a rainbow of confetti as the party started in style.
Next up was Get Ready For It, before the stage was morphed into a kaleidoscope of huge moving projections of the band members as they sang Giants. The whole sequence was an audio-visual masterpiece.
From here the show appeared to hark back to Take That’s 2009 The Circus tour, as stilt walkers and other fantastical characters brought carnival to the stage for Kidz and Underground Machine, with Howard being lifted up into mid air circus-style.
And then it was on to Relight My Fire, the fiery spectacle which no Take That show could be complete without, and which turned up the heat with a circle of flames around the stage as the trio belted out the all-time classic.
An apartment block next sprung up from the ground as Take That sang Superstar from the rooftop, before the chameleon-like stage changed once more for a simply sublime performance of the ballad Hope as acrobats circled the band and glided through the air.
And then it was time for a trip down memory lane with a medley of songs spanning the years, with Beautiful World, Wait, Satisfied, Lovelife and How Deep is Your Love picked from the Take That’s vast back catalogue.
One of the many show-stopping highlights followed as petal power took over for the songs New Day and Shine and the entire stage was turned into a huge, psychedelic-coloured flower, before the visual spectacle was stripped away and it was simply about the music for a beautiful rendition of Back For Good.
Patience came next, and then Pray, complete with the band’s famous 1993 dance moves, followed by possibly the most spectacular part of the entire show.
It’s All For You, one of the band’s newest tracks, saw a stunning fairground carousel appear from above as if by magic, with a swan, a unicorn and Take That themselves circling the stage mid-air in the most enchanting of moments.
It all got a little bit aquatic after that, with a striking waterfall raining down silhouettes of Take That as they sang The Flood, followed by the illusion of a surreal underwater party created for Cry.
Take That then went into disco party mode one last time for These Days before they bid farewell to their opening night audience with the Take That anthems Never Forget and Rule The World, and the lights of people’s mobile phones created a magical starlit sky throughout the arena.
Packed full of great new tracks, nostalgia, and amazing weird and wonderful special effects, Take That fans old and new are in for a treat when this show heads to Norwich.
It is truly Take That at their best – a wonderland of visual spectacle and pop classics not to be missed.
Wonderland Set List
Get Ready For It
Relight My Fire
How Deep is Your Love
Back For Good
It’s All For You
Rule the World
Support act All Saints
Ahead of Take That gracing the Genting Arena stage, the audience was treated to a performance by pop band All Saints.
The all-girl four piece, who first shot to fame in the 1990s with a string of number one hits, were on top form.
“We are so excited about being on this tour because we love Take That!,” they told the audience in between their songs.
The crowd loved them, and as band members Shaznay Lewis, Melanie Blatt, Nicole and Natalie Appleton worked their way through their hits it really felt like you had been transported back to the 1990s.
Starting with I Know Where It’s At and Black Coffee, they went on to sing Bootie Call, Lady Marmalade, Under The Bridge, Never Ever and One Strike, before finishing with Pure Shores, the song which was featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach.
All Saints’ set list was a great gig in its own right and a brilliant support act for Wonderland.
Take That on coming to Norwich
Take That will play the final two dates of their UK Wonderland tour at Norwich City Football Club in Carrow Road.
In their tour brochure they say they are delighted to be heading to the city for the first time. Paul Flynn, the interviewer, writes: “When the itinerary was presented to Howard Donald, he was delighted to see new cities to add to their bedpost of British tour stopovers. ‘We’re doing Swansea and Norwich, which we have never done before. Apparently Delia Smith is doing the catering in Norwich because it’s at the football ground.’ Howard looks at his chicken. Gary and Mark look at their juices. And for a moment, Take That is silent. ‘Get lost,” says Gary to his old mate, once more amazed at the absolutely amazing places Take That has taken them all.”
• The June 16 Take That concert at Norwich’s Carrow Road is sold out but there are still tickets available for June 15. To book tickets, visit www.takethat.com/live/