"The old formula of bare-hearted balladry swooning an entire audience was quite the sight to behold."
The last few years have seen a slew of tragic '90s acts make their way through the capital cities of Australia, undoubtedly hoping to capitalise on the nostalgia of Gen Xers desperate to reclaim some fragment of their long-gone youth. From 5ive (or are they 4our, now? 3hree?) to Vengaboys, the cheese has flowed plentifully.
It'd be very easy to throw Take That in with that lot, but it bears mentioning that they have a somewhat more legitimate history in terms of songwriting and hands-on involvement in the creative process than your Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls ever really did.
More on that in a second, though, because holy shit they've wheeled out Dannii Minogue! Yes, the sister of the around-spinning and better-devil-knowing Minogue frocked up and took the stage to open the evening in an outfit to utterly disgrace RuPaul. Blasting through her modest back catalog with timeless classics Love And Kisses and Baby Love, she was having the time of her life and it effortlessly translated to the already screaming audience.
As the lights dimmed, Take That's band erupted into Shine, bringing Mark Owen, Howard Donald and only Gary bloody Barlow out in matching tin soldier outfits, ready to get their pop on. The three of them charmed the masses with their chemistry and the entire arena was at once awash with their exuberance and positivity.
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Giants and Up All Night continued the flow of energy but the most piercing screams were those that welcomed Babe and A Million Love Songs - the old formula of bare-hearted balladry swooning an entire audience was quite the sight to behold.
For all their individual strengths - Donald clearly being the best dancer of the three, Owen having the most soulful and emotive voice - Barlow coasted by almost entirely on charisma, not to overshadow the fact that he wrote the band's biggest songs. Without breaking a sweat all night, he sang his heart out, hit those high notes (but unnecessarily dropped the key for Back For Good, god only knows why) and danced alongside his mates, keeping the fever pitch at max.
Perth Arena became the UK for one night as expats flocked in droves to see the cheeky Manchester lads. They might want to consider setting up a temporary migration consultancy booth next time this happens. They'd do a roaring trade.