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The Greatest Day for Take That fans as they return to Birmingham on tour

By Andy Richardson | Music | Published:

Britain’s biggest boy band, Take That, will play six dates at Arena Birmingham to mark their 30th Anniversary. The band has announced a massive UK arena and stadium tour performing all their much-loved greatest hits live with support from special guest Rick Astley.

Could it be magic? – Gary, Howard and Mark head to Brum

Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen are Take That in 2018 and continue the legacy of one of the most successful bands in British chart history. Formed as a five piece in 1989, they enjoyed immediate success with their first two albums charting at number two and number one respectively. Third album Nobody Else confirmed their global domination, selling more than six million copies and topping the charts in 11 countries.

The departure of band member Robbie Williams prompted a break-up in 1996 and nine years in the wilderness before the other four members reunited for 2005’s The Ultimate Tour. That sparked one of the greatest comebacks in British music history with Take That going on to release three number one albums in just four years.

Robbie’s return for 2011’s Progress saw them break the record for the fastest selling album of the 21st century and fastest selling tour of all time in the UK. Robbie’s second departure, along with that of Jason Orange left the remaining three members to release III and 2017’s Wonderland, which were certified platinum and gold respectively. Their longevity and ability to create relevant, timeless pop music has taken Take That to the summit of British pop music and Odyssey will celebrate their place as the one of the world’s greatest ever bands.

Gary can’t wait to get on stage. “In 89 we formed for the first time so next year when we hit the road that’ll be the real 30 years. Where did that go? Mad, isn’t it. It’s been a cracking year putting this together. Pulling up all the recordings on the board, listening to the vocals, takes you back into the room.”

The band is thrilled with new versions of songs like Pray. Howard adds: “Keeping the heart of the song was a very important thing with a lot of the remakes we’ve done on the album – there’s four altogether. You don’t want to change something too much because you’re messing with people’s memories. You don’t want to go too far with it. Keep the heart of the song; use some of the original vocals on there as well. I know Gary had to do a new lead on the song.”

Mark says: “It was a bit of an experiment. In LA it was one of the first tracks we attempted to play with in a way. Because it was our first number one we knew it was an important song. It’s an important song for a lot of people as well. Gaz started to put the arrangement together and re-sang it. It developed over a couple of weeks. For me, what we were hoping to do was, wouldn’t it be amazing to keep the old vocals and put that into the mix as well. We pulled up the original vocals from Pray. We had to work them a bit because of tempos etc but once we got that to fit it was perfect. You’d listen to it and that’s the idea of this record – to sort of make it timeless, across those times, and bring it all together. It’s beautiful.”

The UK shows promise to be special and fans can look forward to a slew of greatest hits.

Gary says: “It’s easier for us to tour here because we have bigger audiences here. Also we’ve got to keep moving around Europe. None of us can afford to be on the road for three months anymore. We’ve all got home lives. As much as we love touring I don’t want to be away from home for three months. We basically play a show in each city and keep moving. Because of that we’ve got to keep the show smallish.”

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Mark adds: “For me it’s not about bettering. I think all these moments are unique – Circus, Progress, III, the Wonderland tour. I don’t think we have to better ourselves. If we are enjoying when we get the show together that’s what it is.”

Howard says: “I think it’s about change. You’ve got to go forward, whether it’s with our songs or technology.”

The latest tour will have a huge budget and the band will try all sorts of new ideas. But it’s the trio – rather than their record label, agent or manager – who continue to innovate and come up with new ideas.

Andy Richardson

By Andy Richardson
Feature Writer - @andyrichardson1

Feature writer and food critic Andy Richardson interviews celebrities, writes columns and hangs out with chefs for stories that appear across all group titles.

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