Take That. They dominated our charts in the early 90’s producing two of the best-selling albums of the decade, before their split in 1996. Since their return in 2006 their popularity has grown phenomenally, leading to their latest album, ‘Progress’ becoming the fastest selling album of the century and the second fastest selling album of all-time.
On Saturday night, I went to the Ipswich Regent to see Back For Good, one of the most critically acclaimed Take That tribute acts around. Back For Good are: Dan Maines (Gary Barlow), Matt Hall (Mark Owen), Steven Craven (Howard Donald) and Jay MacGregor (Jason Orange) with the recent addition of Tony Lewis as Robbie Williams.
But are they as good as the real thing?
And the simple answer, is yes. I was really blown away by their performance. Matt and Dan are vocally stunning, and having seen Take That several times before I can safely say they’ve got their performance off to a tee. You can tell that a lot of work has gone into this show, the attention to detail is immaculate, from the costumes and set right down to each members individual mannerisms. In fact, the only thing they were short of was an elephant!
They opened the show, with Greatest Day, mimicking The Circus Tour, which was followed up with Hello – in which the guys came down into the audience to say ‘hello’!
This was followed with old favorite ‘Could It Be Magic’, Take That’s comeback single ‘Patience’, and a polished performance of the inconceivably impossible ‘Pray’ dance.
They played all the old favorites throughout the night ‘Relight My Fire’, ‘A Million Love Songs’ and even the Clown Medley from The Circus tour in 2009. Which brings me on to a topic which often causes much debate. Which are better, small gigs or big gigs? Personally I’ve always been on the side of small gigs, and the evidence from Back For Good certainly supports that. They could do all the same routines (all be it scaled-down) yet they could also connect with the audience in a way that you never could in a big stadium.
A few of the new ‘Progress’ tracks were also thrown in towards the end, starting with ‘The Flood’. I was pleasantly surprised to see ‘SOS’ in there aswell. I hadn’t expected it as it isn’t a single, but their performance had so much energy! It’s a song that from first listen I’ve always thought will work well live, so I look forward to how the real Take That perform it in the summer.
We were also treated to a beautiful rendition of ‘8 Letters’. I’ve got to say, even though among the Take That fans the song is often seen as a favorite, it never really grabbed me hearing it on the record. However, I think it could just be one of those songs that sound so much better when you hear them live. For the first time, I really got into this song that night.
‘Up All Night’ and ‘Hold Up A Light’ brought the audience to their feet, leading to the guys sitting on the edge of the stage for a nostalgia filled performance of ‘Back For Good’.
They Finished the show with ‘Rule The World’ and an encore of the undeniably brilliant ‘Never Forget’.
I do wish we’d had some input from the ‘Beautiful World’ tour – ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Beautiful World’ for example are some of my favorite Take That songs. However I do understand how difficult it must be to put together a set list which will please all the fans – you can’t have it all!
I would highly recommend this show to any Take That fans out there – particularly if you’re gutted on missing out on tickets to the Progress tour. It’s a fantastic night out, and not to be missed!
Photos courtesy of Ramona Crofts.