Take That with special guest Olly Murs performing This Life On Tour at The City Ground Nottingham on Saturday 25th May 2024.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Take That were at The City Ground Nottingham on Saturday night for the first of two nights of their This Life On Tour and they delivered a dazzling night of entertainment.

But fans had packed into the football ground early to see Olly Murs, who was like a talented but boisterous naughty schoolboy who flirted with the audience throughout his hour long set, dancing while all the time smiling.

Opening with Dance With Me Tonight Murs definitely got the party started. There were a number of covers which included Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again, The Isley Brothers’ Shout and a raucous cover of the Tavares’ It Only Takes A Minute which got a near deafening response.

Other songs from his 2018 album You Know I Know included Wrapped Up, You Don’t Know Love, Up and Heart Slaps A Beat which saw Murs really enjoying himself, along with his band and backing singers. His stirring rendition of Dear Darlin’ dedicated to his late friend Caroline Flack was a real standout in what was an energetic set that had been filled with plenty of hip thrusts.

Thanking the fans for their warm wishes since he became a father for the first time just weeks ago, he finished his energetic set with his hit Troublemaker, leaving the audience wanting more.

Take That got together in 1990, and since then they have sold over forty-five million records in a career that has developed as many lows as it has highs. Originally a five piece, the group disbanded in 1996 but reformed without Robbie Williams in 2006. In 2014 Jason Orange also left, and so for the past decade there has just been the three of them, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen and they still remain one of the biggest groups in the country.

Emerging amidst an explosion of confetti and thundering winds dressed head to toe in black, the piano riff of their opener from their latest album This Life, called Keep Your Head Up, drove the fans wild from the off, setting the tone and the standard of the entire show as they appeared from inside a giant TV screen.

Past tours have delivered huge spectacles such as the acrobatic Circus with its mechanical elephant, and this tour proved to be another extravaganza of song, dance and stagecraft. Spectacular would be too modest a word to describe the set design. The centrepiece was the giant retro afore mentioned TV that split into two to form symmetrical staircases which evoked the elegance of a classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance number.

Whilst their eight new songs mostly held up, the synth rock Days I Hate Myself and This Life a piano ballad were the best of the bunch, and were politely received compared to the wild reception to their hits. The trio marched up and down stairs in synchronicity before running out of breath when they remembered their ages. They delivered dance routines galore as they delivered the likes of Everything Changes and Sure.

During Shine, an early joyous highlight, a huge waterfall sprang from the front of the stage whilst A Million Love Songs saw Barlow at a piano that had risen from below the stage and which had the crowd singing along.

In the middle of the first set each were given the opportunity to showcase a song from their own solo career. There was Barlow’s Forever Love, Owen’s Clementine and Donald’s Speak Without

Words, before their 2006 chart topping hit, Patience, had the crowd singing along, whilst The Flood was big and dramatic.

It was easy to lose track of how many costume changes there were and how many times the set design shifted and changed. There were plain white suits, coloured ones, and at one time they were dressed in what looked like tin foil whilst wearing googles.

What had looked and acted as a lighting rig, turned upside down and revealed itself as a walkway, as the trio glimmered and shimmered their way to the B stage whilst singing Greatest Day, These Days and Time And Time Again. They returned to the main stage funky dancing to Relight My Fire, the Dan Hartman disco classic they released all those years ago, as elements of fire and water spewed and erupted from the stage.

The climax to the show kept the crowd engaged as they sang along at the top of their voices for One More Word and Hold Up A Light. Back For Good had a strong visual video as 3D rain fell as Barlow’s vocals were drowned out. They finished with Never Forget and Rule The World, both anthems which brought the house down.

The confetti, streamers, rotating stages and pyrotechnics on the staircases meant that every song had come with its own jaw dropping spectacle. Take That had taken their fans on a tumultuous musical journey which had showcased thirty plus years of their greatest hits and reaffirmed their legacy as one of the most successful boy bands of all time.