Gary Barlow – Live Review – Hull City Hall
By Roger Crow, April 2018
When you’re married to the world’s biggest Take That fan, it’s inevitable that you’ll see them live at some point. For me it should have happened in 2006, but a travel trip came up. So while my other half went to every tour the band and Gary Barlow staged, I missed out. The queues, the obsessive fans, and the hype put me off, though on TV, that’s perfectly fine.
Finally I see the seasoned singer/songwriter on the second Hull date of his tour, and it’s worth the wait. But first, the best support act I could hope for: KT Tunstall. I first saw her live 10 years ago (almost to the day) in Grimsby, and my feet were so sore from standing, it took me an hour to recover.
A decade later and little has changed. She is still one of the best singer-songwriters of her generation, and as live performers go, she takes some beating.
“Fans go wild”
The main attraction isn’t bad either. Okay, even if you’re not a fan, you have to admire Barlow’s showmanship. He works a crowd beautifully, sounds incredible and even manages some of the moves from those early days.
And what a wealth of songs, including the solo stuff, the Take That classics and some tracks from musicals such as Finding Neverland. The man works his derrière off, so little wonder the fans go wild from minute one to the final song.
His band are also phenomenal, including Donavan Hepburn, probably the best drummer in Blighty today. His work with ELO and Take That underlines the fact with heavy strokes.
I walked two miles in the rain to see the gig, and it was worth every sodden footstep. Barlow might have his critics, but I defy any of them to do what he does on stage for 90 minutes. The man is an entertainment machine, whose up tempo tracks and heart-wrenching ballads are so well crafted and performed, it’s a joy to see live.
The fact he plays Hull so rarely means it was extra special for the fans who first saw him and Take That at LA’s nightclub all those years ago.
Every gig-goer wants value for money, and this more than delivers on that score. With assorted shows in this neck of the woods in the coming months, I doubt he’ll have much trouble selling tickets. But if you are going, safe to say you’re in for a treat.
Move over Hugh Jackman. A greater showman just stole your title.
images: Roger Crow