Take That kick off sell-out tour
Published 27/05/2011 | 21:38
Chart superstars Take That set the seal on their reunion with robots, giant caterpillars and high wires as they kicked off their spectacular sell-out tour - one of the biggest ever to be staged.
The show - staged at Sunderland's Stadium Of Light Premier League ground - was the first major public gig by the group with Robbie Williams restored to the line-up.
The gig also proved to be almost a three-for-the-price-of-one offer with Williams performing a set of his own hits part-way through as well as two versions of Take That performing.
Williams rejoined for last year's Progress album after quitting the line-up in 1995, paving the way for years of acrimony. He held off rejoining when the band reformed for a series of shows in 2006, instead concentrating on his solo career.
But the factions eventually buried the hatchet and they secretly entered a recording studio in 2009.
The show opened with the group's number two hit Rule The World, a no-frills opener and the first of five songs from the Robbie-free years, all performed without Williams.
It was followed by Greatest Day, one of the group's 11 number one hits during their career which now spans 20 years, performed in the round and accompanied by plumes of yellow confetti being shot into the air.
"Who cares about the rain?" said Gary Barlow, referring to the downpour which began moments before the band took the stage. "We're from up north - we're used to it."
Within minutes Mark Owen was riding a huge caterpillar on stage as the group sang an Alice in Wonderland-themed Shine.
Williams dropped 40ft to the stage by harness to begin his section of the concert with his huge hit Let Me Entertain You, going on to play some of his biggest hits.