Sunday, 5 July 2009


Did I ever mention how much I love my sister in law?
Ok, let's start at the beginning.

Just after Christmas last year, my sister in law, Sharon, told me she'd bought me, my niece Jess, my other sister in law Sandie and two of my niece's friends tickets to see Take That at Wembley, for Jess' 14th birthday.
I cannot begin to described how excited I have been.
I loved Take That when they were around back in the day. They came out with their first single, Do What You Like, when I was a mere 9, and after seeing them one Saturday morning being interviewed by Micheala Strachan, I was obsessed, literally. I had every record (and then tape, and then CD as formats changed through the early to mid nineties), book, video, and poster- you name it, I had it. But at that age I was considered far too young to go see them live, however much I moaned, pleaded and sulked.

Then, on my 13th birthday, my Mum told me that when I was given access to my bank account on my 14th birthday, I could, finally buy my own ticket and go. Unfortunately, in the run up to said 14th birthday my joint favourite member (after Mark), the phwoarrsome Robbie Williams, left.

But such was my overwhelming desire to see them, I waited for the tenth of February like I'd never waited before, planning what I'd wear to my concert, seeing what banners I could make, and generally annoying everyone with my chants of "I'm gonna see Take That next year".
Now, I don't know if anyone reading this liked Take That back in the day, but my birthday, as I said, is 10th of February.

And in 1996, on the 13th of February they announced they were splitting up.

It came over on a news bulletin, on Michael Wales' pager (see it was so heartbreaking I even remember that detail!), whilst I was sat in Mr Eyles' maths class. And such was mine and several other classmates devastation, we were allowed home early from school. (Although some people obviously were over egging how much they were upset, but a free pass out of maths, is still a free pass out of maths, no matter how much you get taken the mickey out of afterwards).

We were, literally, clutching our Take That pencil cases, and our text books that we'd covered dutifully with Take That posters every year (doubles of ones we already had of course!), and sobbing.
The boys at school loved it, I'm sure it was even better than the ritual bra strap pinging they used to indulge in.

So, as you can imagine, the idea of finally seeing someone who took up my every waking moment for the vast majority of my child and teen years was too good to miss.

And my God, they didn't disappoint.

I had never been to a concert, ever, up until yesterday. I suppose in a strange way I'd always expected the band to be my first concert so I never got round, what with kids and adulthood getting in the way, to seeing anyone else either. (although one year I nearly got to sneak into Glastonbury in the back of a friends car but my ex wouldn't let me go).

So anyhow, we got the train down to Wembley, and at 2pm started queuing to go in. The camraderie was extraordinary, everyone sharing stories, singing and chatting in the heat of the sun, so much so that you hardly noticed the time.

Then we were inside, and what an amazing stadium Wembley is. I'd obviously seen it on TV, but it doesn't show you just how vast it is. We luckily got quite near the front, and at 6pm, the first support act, local lad Gary Go, came on to warm us up. He was good, by the way, well worth looking out for.

Up next, Lady Ga Ga graced us with her presence, despite rumours she was cancelling again and I was glad she did. I think her music is catchy, but I was actually quite surprised what a great live act she is, and she can sing live pitch perfect. Dare I say it, she's actually better live! At one point, she came out with a piano, and sang an acoustic re-work of her song Poker Face.

And then, it was time.

The thing I'd waited for for well, 15 years I suppose!

It was strange, as when they came on, I found my self thinking "Oo its Take That. The Take That. Right in front of me", it felt unreal.

I have to say at this point that I don't think my niece really knew the extent to which I liked them back in the day. I was back to age 13, screaming and waving, recording video (God Bless Mobiles) and taking loads of pictures.
And they did me proud. The show is a spectacle in itself, even without the band themselves. Rather than leaving the audience hanging during costume and set changes, they had circus acts entertain us, such as fire breathers, cage dancers, drummers, clowns and my personal favourite,a tap dancer on top of a drum.

I like their new stuff, but when the oldies from my childhood came on, me and loads of others went wild. I sang myself hoarse, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

And bless them, they know how to work a crowd. At one point, Jason saw me readying the camera, and posed, then with a cheeky grin he gave me a big wave. Swoon! And Mark gave me a lovely wink too. Double swoon. I was that close to the stage.

Accorrding to my sisters in law, half the enjoyment of the concert was watching my face. I was so overwhelmed I could hardly breathe at one point.

So, I may not have got to see them in their first, Robbie included hey day, but they sure made up for the wait last night. With bells on. Phwoarrrrrr.
If you'd like to view some of the mobile footage (and I apologise for any very bad loud singing you can hear!), you can find it at YouTube, under 20somethingmum's videos.

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