Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
7:03 AM 15th April 2024

Take That - This Life On Tour

Take That - This Life on Tour
Photo: Dave Hogan /Hogan Media Ltd /Shutterstock ©
Take That - This Life on Tour Photo: Dave Hogan /Hogan Media Ltd /Shutterstock ©
When Take That reunited in 2006 after their breakup, the group returned stronger and more popular than before. Now with Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald seemingly back for good, the trio arrived at Sheffield Arena for the start of their This Life tour—a mammoth 41-date outing across the country, selling over 700,000 tickets in the process.

The tour is the biggest-selling one of the year for a UK act. While their detractors might scoff at Take That's enduring popularity and loyal fanbase, there is another point to consider here: in all the cities the tour visits, the local economy also benefits from the hotels, bars, restaurants, and even taxi drivers gains.

Over a two-hour show that included snow storms, fire, water, and a back catalogue of hits, Take That gave the 12,000 fans who attended the inaugural night of the tour a concert that was inclusive, impressive, and most of all, enjoyable.

In the past, attention focused on the songwriting abilities of Gary Barlow; conversely, the This Life album is definitely a band effort, with all three members contributing to the composition of the tracks. As the show opened up on a peaceful note with Keep Your Head Up, followed by Windows—two songs off the new album—the three-piece appeared keen to demonstrate that this was Take That now, not the boy band whose posters adorned the bedroom walls of their fans thirty odd years ago.

Following the almost solemn opening, the focus shifted to a recreated television studio from the past, showcasing a potted history of the band, featuring Barlow as the TV presenter. The This Life tour took on a resemblance to This Is Your Life. The narrative here soon began to resemble A Different Stage, the solo show that Barlow presented a few years ago. The difference now was that the fans got to hear earlier tracks, such as I Found Heaven and Pray, still performed with the accompanying dance routine.

Take That - This Life on Tour
Photo: Dave Hogan /Hogan Media Ltd /Shutterstock ©
Take That - This Life on Tour Photo: Dave Hogan /Hogan Media Ltd /Shutterstock ©
After the band's original split, Barlow's Forever Love resembled a lost Take That song, Owens Clementine displayed an indie rock flair, and Donald's Speak Without Words left you wondering why the unreleased track was never released.

Decamping to a second stage at the rear of the arena, the hits flowed in quick succession, with Relight My Fire igniting a spark as the flames rose from the huge staircase set back on the main stage as the energy levels began to rise.

Naturally, Never Forget and Rule the World, tracks that are usually saved to the very end, concluded a night where it had been hard not to be impressed with the showmanship, entertainment, effort, and scale of the production of the This Life tour.

If the remaining forty dates are as good as tonight, there will be no doubt that Take That is definitely back for good.

The tour continues with further dates in the north:

Wednesday, April 17: Leeds First Direct Arena 

Thursday, April 18: Leeds First Direct Arena 

Friday, April 19: Leeds First Direct Arena

Saturday, April 20: Leeds First Direct Arena

Tuesday, May 7: Manchester Co-op Live 

Wednesday, May 8: Manchester Co-op Live 

Friday, 10 May, Manchester Co-op Live

Saturday, May 11: Manchester Co-op Live 

Sunday, May 12: Manchester Co-op Live

Friday, May 24: Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium 

Tuesday, June 11: Manchester Co-op Live 

Wednesday, June 12: Manchester Co-op Live