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, 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…
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!
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!
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!
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!).
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.
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.