POP / Take That shock

ANYONE who believes that a 13-year-old is too young for sex education should go to a Take That concert. The 8,000 schoolgirls in Glasgow's SECC on Thursday scream for Gary's piano playing. They scream for Jason and Howard's back flips. But a single pelvic gyration from either Robbie or Mark produces the scream de la scream. The young girls - there are hardly any young boys present - are truly, madly, deeply in lust with Take That, while their parents are ignorant enough to require this simple key: Robbie - big eyebrows; Mark - big smile; Gary - big-boned; Jason - big chin; Howard - the other one. Now that I have seen a close-up of Howard's G-strung bottom on two giant video screens I feel I know the band intimately enough to refer to them by their Christian names.

Take That could easily rely on Mark's boyish grin or Jason's manly brawn. (Oasis pretend to be Manchester's toughest five piece; Jason could take them all on.) But they stage a show that overflows with effort, energy, imagination, and above all respect for the audience. Every detail has been considered. The eight backing musicians are polished, the dancing superlative, and Gary Barlow's songs - especially the ballads - nearly worthy of the attention they have been given. Lennon and McCartney he ain't. Stock, Aitken and Waterman he may be.

Like the best children's TV presenters, Take That keep their banter just on the right side of patronising, although their scripts seem to have been written by Cannon and Ball: 'I tell you what, Gaz, I wouldn't mind having a rest. Do you know 'Why Can't I Wake Up With You'?' 'Do I know it, Rob? I wrote it]' Well, the youngsters were amused, bless their hearts.

Pyrotechnics flare, stages move, props and wardrobe keep changing. Of course, the Beatle suits and devil costumes have nothing on the fans' favourite, the black string vest and underpant combination. (Gary keeps his trousers on. Big- boned, you see.)

The staging of 'Babe' is an outstanding piece of theatre. Take That interact with projections behind them and walk through slits in the screen until live action merges with film. And if that weren't enough, Lulu appears for 'Relight My Fire'.

The evening is such a genuine attempt to give the fans the perfect show that it would be petty to nit-pick. Which is why I haven't mentioned the singing until now. Jason and Howard should stick to break dancing, and for most of the concert they do. Gary sounds weedy and distant, but Robbie has the beginnings of a good 'n' throaty soul voice. And anyway, you try holding a tune at the same time as you're zipping through some high-energy choreography.

Regular Take That concert- goers were more critical. Did the band have to pad out their own material with a Beatles medley? How successful was the segment featuring pre-teen Take That doppelgangers? As a Take That virgin, I arrived wondering whether they would be just another teen sensation, or whether they had metamorphosed into serious artists a la George Michael. The answer is neither. They are not just any teen sensation. They are the teen sensation. Snatch those Ivor Novello songwriting awards and Mercury Music Prize nominations back off them now. If Take That were to aim for the grown-up market it would be an incalculable loss to the schoolgirls of the world.

Glasgow SECC, 041-248 3000, tonight; Manchester G-Mex, 061- 832 9000, Tues-Thurs; Dublin The Point, 010-3531 6366777, Sat & Sun; and touring.

Arts and Entertainment

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

radio
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?