The Take That documentary they showed a Christmas or two ago was a successful little slice of television. It managed to turn around the flailing careers of all ex-Take That stars whose surnames weren’t Williams whilst simltaneously banging the final nail into Robbie’s career-coffin.
Fundamentally, the doc demonstrated, these four blokes were always nice, professional chaps. The public were finally persuaded that Robbie’s distortions of the truth were only his version of events and bought into the TT reunion package.
Robbie might also have been a nice bloke, once-upon-a-time, but he lost it in a stupendously big way. His neurosis made him leave the band and embark on a solo career curve which he now languishes at the bottom of, in a pile of money but without the critical acclaim he needs to keep his egocentric personality turning out his trademark cheeky-chappie gurns.
So the public were persuaded to finally wave ta-ta to Robbie and, through endless four-nice-bloke branding, they accepted Take That back into their ears. Barlow wasted no time. He immediately set about writing those songs he used to create. The ones where you hear them and think:
‘Hang on, I know this! Isn’t this that George Michael song? Or is it Elton John? That bit sounds like Abba playing the Beatles.’
And then the hook is in your head like a parasitic worm. And it won’t leave. And it’s laying eggs which’ll hatch when you least expect it. You’ll be waiting for a lift (or walking up some stairs, for those in the north) and all of a sudden…
LET IT SHIIIIIIIINE! Let it SHINE!
And then, instantaneously, the lads are a visual memory – all dressed up in M&S urchin chic, and you wish death on them, slow lingering death, whether they’re nice blokes or not.
So Take That Came To Town last night, and they bought half of Cirque De Soleil with ‘em. They also bought clowns, dancing girls and their middle-aged fans who screamed violently at every word they uttered.
I lasted 25 minutes and here’s what happened in that time:
- Gary sang an opener in which he promised that this could be the greatest night of our lives. I’ll leave you to wrestle with the use of the word ‘could’.
- Mark sang the aforementioned Shine, a serious virus of a song, whilst ladies dangled from wires. A huge jackinthebox also sprang out of nowhere.
- They did that ‘Rule The World’ song and I noted that, despite Howard having the ‘we can rule the wooooorld’ line, his voice was so low in the mix it sounded like autotuned interference.
- Jason, looking for all the world like an awkward gay teenager roped into organising an overpriced kid’s party, led a chatty bit where all involved mocked Barlow. They’re allowed to now, it seems.
- They all said they were ‘enjoying getting to know Robbie again’ – which is good, as without him the next stage of the comeback will be redundant. The Take That Reunion Mark2 is reliant on Robbie’s desperation, after all.
And then I switched over.
Temporarily swept up by the glitz and those nagging, incessant tunes, my right mind suddenly dragged me back to sensibility and I returned to the land of the living just about intact.
It’s going to take weeks to shift those bloody songs from my brain.