Take That make a triumphant return to Australia

Take That | Perth Arena | 11 November 2017 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

It’s more than 22 years since Take That last played a show in Australia and a lot has changed since then.

The band’s last trip to Perth was in 1995. Robbie Williams had quit and they were down to being a foursome. Not long after the remaining members would call it a day, breaking the hearts of thousands of fans.

After, what band member Howard Donald referred to last night as “a nine year holiday”, they reformed. At one stage Robbie Williams even rejoined their ranks, bringing their numbers up up to five again. Today the band comprises three of the original members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen.      

The second half of Take That’s career has seen them continue recording and touring. They’ve now made more records since they reformed, than they had made back in the nineties. There are three albums from before the split, and five albums of material created their reformation.

While the band has continued to have chart success in the UK, their more recent work is less well known in Australia. Artists who disappear for a long time can sometimes find it difficult to stage a comeback, despite having a catalogue of past hits to draw from.

Fans of singer Alison Moyet recently complained that her recent Australian tour, her first in over three decades, didn’t have enough of the hits they knew. Australian fans were just unfamiliar with the vast majority of her work.

So before Take That leaped onto the stage at the Perth Arena, there were a lot of questions. Had the years been kind? Would they play all their old hits? Would fans unfamiliar with the later work get bored? Were the band as exciting with just three members?

First up Dannii Minogue took to the stage a got the party started. With two backing singers chanting “All My Freaks Say”, Dannii opened with Put the Needle On It, appearing with mane of wild golden blonde locks and a rainbow tasseled dress.


After playing a new song Holding On, Danni returned to the hits with Who Do You Love Now, before Disremembrance, an acoustic version of All I Wanna Do and a stunning mash up of Garbage’s Stupid Girl combined with her song I Begin to Wonder. 

With the crowd enthused for the music of the 90’s Dannii closed off with a medley of her biggest hits including Baby Love, Love and Kisses and finally This Is It – which included tinges of Clean Bandit’s Real Love. 

The Take That trio took to stage to rapturous applause and swathe of tunes. Opening up with Shine, before quickly working through Greatest Day, Get Ready for It and Giants. The audience were on their feet from the first tune and didn’t sit down for the rest of the show.  

Dressed in matching jackets, the trio were clearly older, Gary Barlow’s beard is filled with specks of grey, but they quickly showed they still have buckets of personality. Mark Owen’s fringe still falls in his face, Howard still oozes sex appeal, and Gary winks at the fans with his magical charm.

The energetic trio never stayed still throughout the show, Barlow switch from being behind his grand piano to singing upfront with Owen and Donald, all three moved around making sure they got close to fans on both sides of the stage.

As the band launched into Hold Up a Light Mark Owen headed into the crowd giving fans high fives and for one amorous fan, a kiss.

Fans might not have known every word of the band’s more recent songs, but a good song is a good song, and Take That had a bundle of tunes at their fingertips.

Pray took fans back to their teenage years, the trio repeating the dance moves from their video of more than two decades ago.

It was with the oldest hits that the show hit it’s heights. Babe, A Million Love Songs, Everything Changes and It Only Takes a Minute prompted the audience to scream, dance and clap their hands. With the opening chords of Could it Be Magic things went into overdrive.

How Deep is Your Love was a giant sing-a-long and after a quick costume change the boys were back with the thumping Relight My Fire. 

After quieter moment with anthemic tune The Flood, the band kept going with the electronic heavy Cry and the instantly catchy These Days. 

The encore included the inevitable Back for Good, before the trio said Rule the World would be their final song. There was one more though, Never Forget was a perfect end to a spectacular show.

Graeme Watson, images: Adrian Thomson 

Take That’s Australian tour will see them play shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle. Tickets available from Ticketek.  

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