Pop: Twist and shout: They came, they saw, they screamed - Mark Wareham on Take That at Wembley Arena

There are hidden bonuses to being an undercover thirtysomething male teenybopper. You can have a carriage to yourself on the tube to Wembley (Take That fans come in cars - their parents') and in the gents you get a stretch of urinal all to yourself. But that's about it. No amount of planning - a thrash-metal speaker strapped to your ear at volume 11? - can prepare you for the aural onslaught ahead.

It started at eardrum-bleeding level as Kaos, a cutesie Jackson Five-meets-ABC outfit, took their 20-minute turn, and then it rose some. When you swooned to John, Paul, George and Ringo you were, at least, in your teens. Here, the screamers were pre-St Trinians: seven-year-olds with larynxes to waken entire graveyards. Ten thousand strong, they were just tuning up. It wasn't until Lulu took the stage that they even had anything to be excited about. Her three songs (no 'Shout', thank heavens) were incidental to her questions, each requiring a louder scream. 'Are there any Take That fans here?' she asked, perchance, as we were blown from our seats.

Then came the screamometer. As you clung to your partner, she set about conducting the Take That popularity test. Jason and Howard came equal last with a noise level that set your teeth on edge. Gary, perhaps suffering reaction to this week's 'I've got a small willy' Smash Hits shocker, was edged into third. And as the nuts and bolts that held the arena together started to fly, the reception for joint beefboys, Robbie and Mark, went off the scale.

The main event proved to be almost as entertaining. As the support band assumed their positions, five jack-booted Nazis in sunglasses and helmets rose from beneath the stage. Dynamite exploded left and right as teenie hearts detonated and Gary crooned, 'We're gonna make you feel so-oo-oo-oo good'. The opening spectacular settled into a mix of ballad and dance (backflips and, yes, breakdance) interspersed with hammy banter. Apart from 'Pray' and 'Relight My Fire' - their two slices of pure, pure pop - they could have been New Kids on the Block.

This, we were led to believe, would all change with the much vaunted raunch section. Reinventing yourself never did David Bowie any harm (he, too, had a helping hand from Lulu), but it helps if you rely on more than just headlines. Tabloid hype had dads banning kids from gigs on account of 'kinky leather bondage and devil worship', but it's not until the last song that they grow horns and Howard bares his marble bottom. Even then Gary's dance with Lulu is more waltz-with-mother than bump- and-grind.

'Sure', the new single, far from leading them over the satanic abyss, takes a step back to more soulful pastures, a sleep- written Take That-by-numbers. And rightly so, for first and foremost Take That is a business, not a group. It is a little-known fact that the company derives its name from its phenomenal sales of merchandise. 'I'll take that,' shout the girls in the scrum at the sales counter. 'And that, and that, and that.'

Given time, Take That must die, but if they take a cue from Menudo, Latin America's foremost teen idols, they may yet achieve immortality. As soon as any of Menudo look to be in danger of growing stubble they are replaced by younger hunks, ready for the next generation to fall in love with. They sing the same songs, dance the same moves and are, to all intents and purposes, eternal. So it's bye-bye Jason, Gary, Howard, Mark and Robbie, and Take That forever.

At Wembley Arena to 20 Sept (Booking: 081-900 1234)

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
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.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album