Many months ago the hottest ticket in town was the Take That tour, Their first with Robbie Williams back in the band after 15 years or something like that. Take That weren’t really on our hit list in their first incarnation. They had a couple of pleasant songs that we may have heard on the radio. Jen became a big fan of Robbie though after he left them and went out on his own. Her view though is that his finest moment was his one-off ‘Swing while you are winning’ concert at the Royal Albert hall. We have the album and the DVD. It really was a tremendous show and demonstrated what a true showman he is.
So now we have most of his albums and when he hooked up again with Take That and they announced a tour including Wembley Stadium, I was implored to try to get tickets. The tickets where harder to get hold of than footage of Amy Winehouse sober. I have a colleague though who is a seasoned festival goer and reckoned he knew the best way to get tickets online. He did and I got some. A pair of tickets for Jen and I to go and see Take That with Robbie Williams at Wembley.
We then heard from friends who had been earlier in the week that the traffic getting in and out was Horrendous. “DO NOT DRIVE” they shouted on Facebook. Jen was half of a mind to not go and sell the tickets. We live about 50 miles from Wembley as the crow flies, but Wembley is in the back of a large industrial and suburban area of North London as well as 50 miles in a direct line. 80,000 other people where also going. We really, really didn’t want to go on the tube with tens of thousands of women of a certain age already pissed looking forward to screaming their lungs out at a band they had posters of on their walls as teenagers. If we were going to be hours in a massive queue we wanted to be in the comfort of our Landrover with some sweets and water and music on the stereo.
So I formed a cunning plan. Rather than set off in good time to arrive early and ensure we were eventually in position when the band struck up, we chose an alternative. We left home at 5.45 pm for a concert 50 miles away in London which starts at 8.15 pm. Driving round and then through outer London, when the population of one of the largest cities in Europe are making their way home from work. No problem. Because I am clever and I know the way and I did my research we drove up to the gates of the car park which is in the actual stadium grounds at about 40 miles per hour. At the gate there is a sign which says, “allow two hours to depart the car park after the event”.
We wandered into the Stadium to the back ground noise of the support act. The Petshop Boys. We aren’t fans so werent bothered. We wanted dinner so we got an excellent value for money microwave burger and coke for £20. Bargain ! We completed our purchase without queueing just as the Pet Shop Boys set finished and out poured tens of thousands of people looking for a loo and a beer. We savoured our delicious burger and made our way to our seats.
Wembley is pretty amazing. Not as good as the millenium Stadium, Cardiff, but quite a place. Of course there was a great buzz of expectation and the noise started building as the great moment got nearer. The Concert was sponsored by Samsung and a huge scream went up when they played a Samsung mobile phone ad on the screens with an image of Take That on it as well. I’ve never, and hope to never again, seen quite such an hysterical reaction to a Korean telephone advertisement.
There was a countdown and the 4 chaps sans Robbie appeared to primal screams from the assembled crowds. We were sitting in allocated seats on a sharply tiered stadium set up where everyone had an excellent seated view of the stage below us. So of course the second the first strains of Rule the World arrived the girls in front of us stood up didn’t they! So now we can’t see so are forced to stand as then is everyone else. Because of one or two ghastly girls who have no consideration for anyone around them. We then thought bollocks! We arent standing for the whole bloody show so we sat down. Some others sat down and the nice creatures in front of us stayed standing and waving their hands in the air as though at a Charismatic church. Thats OK down in the standing sections but quite ridiculous half way up the tiers of the Stadium seated area.
So Take That sang some pleasant songs that we have heard on the radio. Told some gags in their silly northern accents and generally horsed about singing and pointing the microphone at the crowd to do the bands work for them. With incredible stage sets and backing dancing types. We just wanted to see Robbie.
Then some serious noise started and lots of lights and fire and out storms Robbie belting out “Let me entertain you”. Now we stand up and cheer. The man is a superstar in the company of talented minstrels. He went out to amuse us with some witty banter and shouting. Roared into “Rock DJ” which has the entire stadium jumping. Really tremendous effort with “Feel” the whole stadium is singing along. More banter then a storming rendition of “come undone”. Of course the compulsory anthem “Angels” which was a fantastic moment as the sun has now faded and everyone in the place knows all the words. It was completely the Robbie show and we loved it. Take that came back and they all did some of the stuff off their new album but we had seen what we came for and it was great ! The lads then were clearly gearing themselves up for the old times. The stuff from the 90’s that the women in the crowd had come to see. It was fun and they sang well and it was good but now our focus is on retreat. We know the route out will be hell if we time it wrong so we leave one song early and ‘leg it’ to the car park. Some have had the same idea but we were first. We get to the car. Fire her up and depart the car park unopposed and drive swiftly through the suburban North London back roads to where we meet the A40 at Northolt. Minutes later we are on the M25 and then home almost exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes after we left our seats at Wembley. There are people who would have taken that long to leave the stadium grounds to get to the car park and then spent 3 hours getting to a trunk road by leaving just 5 minutes later. It’s all about timing. Great night ! Would we do it again? Hell no ! Vibes on the Ipod with powerful Bose Stereo, bottle or two of wine at the conservatory table. Are we getting old ?