In the 1990s Take That were the ultimate in boy bands second only to the Monkees. Boys hated them because the girls loved them so when Robbie Williams left it seemed like the end for Take That, but they carried on for a short period without him still churning out their soulless brand of music and when they split up I cheered out loud as did many males of my generation.
Then they decided to reform without Robbie and something had seriously changed. Gary Barlow had turned into one of the greatest song writers of his generation and the single 'Patience' that brought them back was a glorious piece of work followed by the stunning single 'Shine' it seemed as though things could not get any better.
But things did get better.
They penned the song "Rule The World" used in the film 'Stardust' and that cemented Take That's muso credibility and is testament to Gary Barlow's abilities as a songwriter.
The band went on to win the hearts of all the boys (now approaching middle age) who hated them all those years ago and are now bigger than they ever were and off they trundled into the studio together to work on a new album but this time all members were involved in the songwriting process.
The end result was 'The Circus' album.
Where do I begin? I sat down with my family watching MTV to hear the new Take That single called 'Greatest Day' and I was numb after watching the video except for a tear that rolled down my cheek. I had just had a slap around my face from a song that was as mature as a vintage Stilton telling me to look around me and appreciate all I have.
What was going on? Take That had become the best band in the world.
In what reality could this have taken place?
'The Circus' album turned out to be a masterpiece with one great song followed by another oozing the quality of songwriting comparable with the Beatles. From the first song 'The Garden' sung by Mark Owen you are not so much taken out of this world but rather the world you're in has a dose of magic and emotion injected into it.
Jason Orange is amazing on the incredible 'How Did It Come To This', a song that is too catchy for its own good and Howard on 'What Is Love' shows what a great singer he is.
I would go on about Gary Barlow's contribution to this album but he gets plenty of well deserved recognition and good on him. He has retained his dignity throughout the years when Robbie was in the limelight with his great works and the press turned on Gary. Well he has had the last laugh and those futile arguments of the past are now well and trulyÂ behind them.
The only ones coming with egg on their faces out of the Robbie Vs Gary debacle are the press.
Anyway back to plot, Take That took 'The Circus' on the road and have released a DVD/Blu-ray of the concert in Wembley Stadium and it is a total celebration of Take That with a circus theme behind the stage show which should, by all right,s be construedÂ as pretentious but it isn't. The humble and gracious attitude of the band demonstrates the love and reverence they genuinely have for their audience.
The songs are delivered with passion and are faultless. The Boys even have a go at playing the instruments themselves and do a grand job of it (even though there are a few sligh,t and I mean slight, timing issues but that's me nit picking as a musician) but the harmonies are exquisite with Howard shining through with his perfect pitch for harmonising.
Even the old songs that I grew up hating find a new leases of life as a bit of fun but the highlight of the show must be Mark Owen singing 'Hold Up A Light' which is just enchanting.
If you grew up hating Take That like I did then I suggest you listen to 'The Circus' album and watch the video live at Wembley so you may also get a slap around the face.
There is also a bonus section with a session in Abbey Road and that gives stripped down and intimate versions of the songs recorded after their tour. This really does show off the talents of the band as singers and the orchestrations are imaginative and well crafted.
Look they aren't Led Zeppelin and they aren't going to give you a 20 minute guitar solo but they are now a great band in their own right and yes they can sing very well.