Gary Barlow – All The Hits Live 2021

Gary Barlow – All The Hits Live 2021

What an evening! We’d been waiting more than a year for this concert and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world!

Armed with our tickets, Covid passes and face masks, my friend & I headed to the Resorts World Arena at Birmingham and joined the queue of fans waiting to go in. With tightened security since the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, and now COVID checks, entering the venue took longer than usual. We made it inside with plenty of time to spare, but a couple of fans who sat next to us completely missed the support act due to it taking so long to get in.

Just minutes before the show started, a panic-inducing announcement came over the tannoy system. An automated message asked us to evacuate! Nobody moved. We’d all waited so long for this. What was going on?! Thankfully, another announcement swiftly followed. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as we were told to ignore the previous announcement. Somebody must have pressed the wrong button!

Leona Lewis on stage at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham.
Leona Lewis on stage at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham.

Leona Lewis, winner of The X Factor in 2006 (how has it been 15 years already?!), was the support act for the night. She did a fantastic job and had the crowd singing along straight away. Leona looked stunning in her white tulle skirt and matching top, giving a wedding dress-type vibe, and entertained everyone with a mix of Christmas songs along with her own hits. She’s got her own Christmas tour next December and I’m sure quite a few of Gary’s fans will be booking tickets for it.

Then it was time for the main man…

Gary Barlow on stage in a red suit.
Gary Barlow entertaining everyone at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham.

The arena roared with excitement as Gary Barlow arrived on stage in style. Looking dapper in his red suit, Gary kicked off the show with ‘Who’s Driving This Thing’ from his 2020 ‘Music Made By Humans’ album, with an array of dancers complete with red feathers. We were up on our feet from the start. A few more songs from the album followed, then the first few notes of ‘Pray’ sounded out as Gary launched into the iconic 90’s dance routine. The crowd always adores this part!

Gary & Leona singing 'Could It Be Magic'.
Gary & Leona singing ‘Could It Be Magic’.

Leona Lewis joined Gary on stage for a rendition of ‘Could It Be Magic’. Those who missed her opening act at least got to see her for one song!

Gary Barlow singing.

Gary singing.

Then it was onto the Christmas section with songs from Gary’s new album ‘The Dream of Christmas’. The stage turned festive with a big Christmas tree alongside a roaring fireplace and a flurry of “snow” (confetti). The audience was certainly in a festive mood!

Gary and his festive dancers!
Gary and his festive dancers!

Gary Barlow wearing his Christmas scarf.

Gary singing Christmas songs.

Gary Barlow

Next, it was onto the ‘B’ stage – a small platform in the centre of the arena so the fans at the back could get closer to the action. Here we were treated to a mix of Gary’s solo songs and Take That songs. Backing band members Mike Stevens (on saxophone) and Milton McDonald (on guitar) joined him on the ‘B’ stage, with more confetti/ticker tape falling from above (seriously, I kept finding the stuff in my coat, hoodie and bag even when I was back at the hotel!).

Gary Barlow on the 'B' stage.
Gary on the ‘B’ stage.

Gary singing on the 'B' stage at Birmingham.

Gary Barlow with Milton McDonald on the 'B' stage.
Gary Barlow with Milton McDonald on the ‘B’ stage.

Back on the main stage for the final part of the show and more Take That songs. The arena was full of fans having a fantastic time. Gary Barlow really is an incredible showman and it was wonderful to have such an amazing experience in these uncertain times.

Gary sat at the piano back on the main stage.
Gary sat at the piano back on the main stage.

Gary Barlow singing.

Gary singing at Birmingham.

Gary Barlow.

The show ended with ‘Never Forget’ – The entire arena stood on their feet, arms in the air, singing along, such a sight to see! An incredible end to an incredible show!

Sadly, the last show of the tour has been cancelled due to a Covid outbreak within the touring party. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we are able to get out and have fun again.


  1. Kelly says:

    I’m so glad you finally got to enjoy this performance! You got some fantastic photos! That’s really bizarre about the evacuation order message. Good thing they quickly recanted it since things like that can cause panic and become dangerous.

  2. Jo says:

    What a scary start hearing that evacuation announcement, I’m glad it was a false alarm. You sound to have had an amazing time, and your photos, as usual, are brilliant.

  3. What an evening that sounds like! Leona Lewis has a fabulous voice and who doesn’t like Gary? Love your enthusiasm too! Wishing you a very merry Christmas, Nikki, and good health and happiness in the new year.

  4. Wow! You took some amazing pictures, you must have had a really good spot.

    It pays to leave plenty of time to take into account the extra security / Covid checks. I wonder how many people missed the start of the concert!

    The security alert would have scared me rigid, it’s a good job they were quick enough off the ball to avoid panic in the audience.

    I do have to say that you are much braver than I at the moment though. Although we haven’t locked ourselves away (far from it in fact), we definitely wouldn’t be mixing in such a crowded space, Covid passes or not! In fact, given the news we have just heard on our way home this evening from visiting family with Christmas presents, it sounds as though you made your trip just in time, as more restrictions seem to be on the cards.

    Stay Safe 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      We were as safe as could be given the situation. Both of us are triple jabbed and I kept my mask on for the entire show (it didn’t stop me singing along!). We were also at the end of the row, so weren’t too crowded.

      I think it was a much needed night out and has definitely helped keep me sane!

      We had a look around the shops and Christmas market in Birmingham the following day, but it was much too busy for my liking, so we didn’t hang around for long.

  5. Cleo says:

    Get these events in while you can, we say. It sure sounds like that was a fantastic show. Looks like we’re heading for yet another lockdown event. Too bad there are still so many idiots out there…

  6. Kris P says:

    I’m glad you were able to have a good time, Nikki! Shows and events here are being cancelled left and right, although movie theaters still seem to be running, which is a puzzle.

  7. This is incredible! I’m so happy to hear that you had a great time, especially after waiting so long. I love Leona Lewis and would love to see her live one day! Thanks for sharing your experience and photos!

  8. Lisa says:

    Wow, that looks and sounds like in incredible evening, Nikki, I’m so glad you were able to go. Your photographs are amazing, what a fabulous record of the concert!

  9. Great photos! We went to one concert (Jools Holland) which had been postponed from last year. I enjoyed it, but felt uncomfortable amongst so many people. We’ve booked some Celtic Connections tickets (late Jan / early Feb) – who knows if they will even take place the way things are going? Must be very worrying for the organisers.

  10. It sounds like a great concert, I can feel the atmosphere through your words, and the photos are just ‘wow’! How on earth did you manage to get such fantastically clear close ups? – these really are special 🙂

  11. Tilly says:

    Great photos, I am still not confident enough to attend large indoor events, even though I am tripled jabbed.

    Have a safe and happy Christmas and new year.

    Bright Blessings to you both

  12. ed says:

    A lovely description dn some great photographs! Always good to bring some glitter back from such and event.

    Heres for a Happy Christmas and hopefully for a Grand New Year!

    Best wishes,

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