Take That’s front man has ditched Saturday night television and the judging panel, for jam packed arenas and centre stage as he embarks on his ‘Since I Saw You Last’ UK tour.
Barlow treated the Birmingham crowd to a dramatic opening montage, taking us through a virtual timeline from the past (the Take That days) to the present (the Gary Barlow days) – which the fans absolutely loved. As the calendar flicker quickly approached 2014, the crowd became louder and louder, then BOOM, he appeared…
Quite fittingly to the tour name, Gary came out all guns blazing and performed his smash hit single ‘Since I Saw You Last’…much to the crowds delight! He even had the confetti cannon going from the first few songs, which looked amazing as it rained down onto the screaming fans.
It wouldn’t have been a typical Gary Barlow performance without the inclusion of some Take That songs (and a few Take That moves) as he recited Relight My Fire, Everything Changes and Greatest Day to name a few. Gary also introduced the crowd to some of his new solo tracks and performed a highly requested song called “Lie To Me” and course, the ever so catchy “Let Me Go”.
What was unique about the show was the mixture of so many musical genres. Gary and his band switched between stripped back acoustic sessions, intimate power ballads and a fantastic big brass swing set - something which was really unexpected.
Gary’s personality shone throughout the performance as he entertained the crowd in between songs – one fan in particular, Hayley Tatton. The 43-year-old picked out Hayley from a full house at the LG Arena and serenaded her from his piano. Gary performed “A Million Love Songs” to the local lass, as she gazed into his eyes, took a few selfies and bowed down to Mike, the guy on sax. The girl from Penkridge, Staffordshire, audaciously gave Mr Barlow’s hiney a quick squeeze as she left the stage, which quite obviously made her night all the more special.
As well as his showmanship, another thing that really stood out for me was Gary’s humour. At times he had the crowd in stiches, even during songs. As the former X-Factor judge sat at his piano performing a powerful ballad, one fan, a gentleman, screamed “I LOVE YOU GARY” at the top of his lungs. Gary stopped playing. The crowd went silent. Nobody knew what to expect. He then slowly leaned towards the mic, looked into the crowd, and in the softest tone let out…”I love you too mate” before carrying on with the performance. It was genius.
There was only one song Gary could have chosen to close the show, and my word, the reception was amazing. 13,000 fans, men, women, children, altogether screaming “NEEEEVVVVVER, FORGET WHERE YOU’VE COME HERE FROM” with their arms in the air, almost perfectly in sync. It was a great moment.
A special mention goes out to Eliza Doolittle, who wowed the crowd with her amazing vocals, before the main man entered the stage. Her charisma, charm and talent acted as the perfect warm up for the Barlow fans.
So, how would I sum up Gary Barlow’s show? “That was ab-so-lutely fantaaastic.” (please read in imaginary Gary Barlow voice)
Reviewed by Todd Newton