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.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'