Read on for a round-up of the opening night of Take That's Progress Live 2011 tour which opened tonight at Sunderland's Stadium of Light. Scroll down to see the full setlist and read reviews of the first show of the 36-date tour.
WARNING: If you're going to see the tour and don't want know anything about it stop reading now!
Take That brought Sunderland to their feet, kicking off their 36 date European Progress Live Tour by unveiling a fully operational 20 metre mechanical man as the stage centrepiece!
Take That kicked-off their Progress Live 2011 tour tonight Friday May 27th at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light in spectacular fashion. The tour, one of the most highly anticipated music events of the summer, is the first time the band have toured as a five-piece since 1995. The awesome live show celebrated their biggest hits from the last two decades, saw Robbie take to the stage to perform songs from his incredible chart-topping solo career and revealed an amazing set which includes a fully operational 20 metre tall man the band have nicknamed ‘OM’.
Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen took to the stage at 8.30pm to start the show to a deafening crowd reception starting as they meant to finish, with their biggest hit to date ‘Rule The World’. They then delivered four more of their biggest songs as a four piece including: ‘Greatest Day’ (including a huge yellow confetti canon blast), ‘Hold Up A Light’, ‘Patience’ and ‘Shine’ (which saw the band joined onstage by an Alice in Wonderland style dancing cast of dancing trees, roller-skating bees and huge caterpillar).
Next four became five, as Take That briefly united onstage ‘virtually’ through a huge video screen to sing their own version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; creating the bridge between the first two parts of the show.
Robbie Williams then kicked off his solo set with a stadium thumping ‘Let Me Entertain You’ which had the crowd jumping off their feet. His set proceeded through his own classics: ‘Rock DJ’ (where he climbed into a glass chariot to be pulled around the stage by dancers in roller-skates), ‘Come Undone’, ‘Feel’ (which saw him winched out to the audience) and of course finishing with the amazing ‘Angels’.
Before the five are reunited properly onstage a group of ominous looking Shaolin monks adorned in red cloaks swinging lanterns walk from the B-stage to the main stage to introduce their arrival. Take That then sing the song that marked their historic return; ‘The Flood’. For this the dancers performed an amazing routine taking place on a wall of water while the band sang from the highest part of the stage.
Robbie threw himself off the top for the finale of ‘The Flood’ to the floor via suspension cables before the band break into an explosive version of ‘SOS’ from their record breaking album ‘Progress’. This is the point where the audience are first introduced to a huge mechanical man who is revealed from behind the stage and slides out in a sitting position for the guys to sing ‘Underground Machine’ (again from ‘Progress’) to rapturous cheers from the audience.
The band then move to the B stage to perform ‘Kidz’ where they start an old skool dance-off involving Jason and Howard, flanked by human chess pieces dressed in black and white. ‘Pretty Things’ is performed back on the main stage with Gary and Robbie being lifted up by OM’s hands as a beautiful ballet dancer flits between the two stages.
Next the band share a few laughs with each other and the audience about old times before gathering around a piano for a medley of ‘Million Love Songs’, ‘Babe’, ‘Everything Changes’, ‘Back For Good’ and ‘Pray’ the final song for which they get up and do the original dance routine while the crowd go crazy.
Gary, Howard, Jason, Mark and Robbie then begin what has to be one of the high points of the show: new XMen single ‘Love, Love’ featuring twenty dancers in gas masks flanking the band on either side of the main stage, while the mechanical man moves out into the middle of the stadium (carrying the band), with an awesome futuristic landscape on the VT behind which takes up the entire back wall.
As the show draws near to its finale the band break into ‘Never Forget’ as OM reveals his full height (20 metres) and the band then finish with ‘No Regrets’, a fiery performance of ‘Relight My Fire’ (with Robbie singing Lulu’s part) closing the show with Gary Barlow leading on the beautiful ‘Eight Letters’ (also the final track on ‘Progress’).
Full set list for Progress Live Tour 2011:
Rule The World‚Ä®
Hold Up A Light‚Ä®
Sgt. Pepper’s VT
Let Me Entertain You
Come Undone (Take A Walk On The Wild Side)
Million Love Songs/Babe/Everything Changes/Back For Good (piano medley)
Relight My Fire
Robbie, Howard, Gary, Jason and Mark on stage at Sunderland.
The amazing stage set of Take That's Progress Live 2011 tour