Take That, ‘Odyssey’ – Live Review – Sheffield Arena & Bristol Ashton Gate

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Take That, ‘Odyssey’ – Live Review

Sheffield Arena/Ashton Gate, Bristol, 2019

by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow

I’d never seen Take That live, until April when they played Sheffield Arena. It was a weird experience, like gatecrashing a party. As my other half has been an ardent fan for years, the opportunity to see them live had first arisen in 2006, but then a Press trip to Canada turned up, so I grabbed that chance and put Gary and company on hold… for 13 years.

As a seated gig, Sheffield Arena was that weird compromise, where you want to get up and shake your pants, but there’s always someone sat behind who makes you feel guilty about being six-feet tall and obscuring their view.

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“Stage spectacle”

That aside, Sheffield was one of those phenomenal experiences – the perfect mix of ideal warm-up act (Rick Astley, sounding better than ever); stage spectacle; stunning costume changes and retina-searing pyrotechnics.

It wasn’t cheap, but worth every penny considering it was like a Vegas spectacular as they whipped through their greatest hits album Odyssey to the delight of countless fans.

So how does the seated stadium show compare to one where you’re stood on a pitch in the fresh air, watching Barlow and co do their thing? Well, given the fact I saw them play Ashton Gate in Bristol a few days ago, it’s a cheaper and far more enjoyable experience, as long as you don’t mind standing, obviously.

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Maybe it helps that I knew what was coming, so when a guest star pops up inside that amazing globe, it’s all the more exciting. And those hits are just extraordinary. Yes there’s the old stuff, like Barry Manilow’s revamped ‘Could it Be Magic?’, ‘Relight My Fire’, and the phase two crowd-pleasers like ‘Patience’ and ‘Rule the World’.

Relatively recent hits like ‘Cry’, ‘Out Of Our Heads’ and ‘Get Ready For It’ have also worked their way into my heart, and one track has the added bonus of incredible pyrotechnics that would never be allowed indoors.

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“Never a dull moment”

Then there’s my favourite tune of the decade. ‘The Flood’ stunned me when I first heard it in 2010. I used to play The X Factor performance on a loop back in the day, and for me is the highlight of a gig with so many vertiginous peaks.

The man band trio had 31,000 folks beaming for the duration in Bristol recently (including Mrs C, who was literally number one in the queue thanks to days of camping at the venue). nI wouldn’t need much persuading to see them a third time in as many weeks, nor would Rachel (she’s experienced the show three times already this year).

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You don’t have to be a hardcore fan to enjoy it. The staging is some of the best you’ll see anywhere in the world, while the dancers, backing band and assorted choirs ensure there’s never a dull moment.

After 30 years in the business, Take That have earned their status as not only Blighty’s best group, but also the best live show, wherever you see them. It’s nice to finally feel like less of a gatecrasher and more of a welcome member of the party.

Get ready for it Huddersfield. You’re in for one hell of a night.

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