Take That

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Lisa-Marie Ferla

three stars

THERE may be only three of them these days, but it’s hard to imagine anybody leaving Take That’s latest tour feeling short-changed.

Performed on a central, circular stage (“so everybody has the best seat in the house”), the trio’s Wonderland show is a riot of colour, custom Nudie suits, circus performers, stilt-walkers, burning torches and vaguely jarring tribal dance routines that stay on just the right edge of cultural appropriation. It features on-stage pyrotechnics, a giant carousel, an on-stage tropical power shower shaped like silhouettes of the band and tonnes of paper streamers falling on the crowd.

It’s just a shame that the adult-oriented rock-pop smashes that have characterised much of Take That’s work since their 2006 reunion tend to bleed into one another after a while. With the notable exception of The One Off The Supermarket Advert – performed, of course, in the middle of a visually stunning giant psychedelic sunflower – it was often difficult to distinguish between the soaring choruses and empty platitudes of the one about walking like giants and the one about holding back the flood.

Given their frequent lead vocals, Mark Owen and the newly peroxide blonde Gary Barlow have always had their share of the spotlight, but if there’s a star of Take That the trio, it’s Howard Donald. On his sitar-accompanied Beautiful World he was part George Harrison, part Jean Valjean, and Underground Machine found him topping an impressive human pyramid.

Twenty-five years after “music changed forever”, to quote a tongue-in-cheek Barlow, with the release of the Take That and Party album, the boys show no sign of slowing down. It’s hardly pushing any boundaries, but it’s still a lot of fun.