A gig is such a diminutive word for something that can turn your life on its head.
I still get goosebumps at the memory of Orbital playing Tribal Gathering in 1995. NME had declared them the greatest band in the world. I was enthralled at the bobbing headlamps, the blue lazer wash during Halcyon, the anti Criminal Justice Act junglist tunes and enjoying being at the front despite being next to an MDMA junkie who spent the whole set going "wow maaan!". Somehow, inside, I was never the same again.
Plaid at Music Box a few years ago was also a great gig, although I wagged my chin with Fil instead of watching. Oh and others, so many others. God Speed You! Black Emperor at, I think, the sadly imploded Planet K. Daft Punk at Sankey's Soap before Sankey's Soap stopped being Sankey's Soap then they decided to turn it into Sankey's Soap again. Lamb at Manchester Ritz, some bloke with a Playstation at Futuresonic, 808 State at a post-bomb Re:Percussion, Autechre at the Hacienda, LTJ Bukem at the MMU...
Which is an extrodinary preamble to a sad admission. Take That the MEN Arena didn't change my life. It didn't get under my skin and make me want to wear the T-shirt. It won't make me cry for joy at a distant memory when I am old and lonely.
However, it was bloody brilliant. Where do I start? The ten foot hologram of Robbie Williams. Gorillaz' Dirty Harry backing Sure. The choreography and the amazing morphing stage. The waterfall with umbrellas. The waterfall without umbrellas (wet T-shirt contest anyone?). The twenty foot flames and 14,000 instantly tanned people. The "did you make shit-loads of cash?" nostalgia bit. Howard's creepy 'fried eggs' comment. The boy-band creator asking them to be ambiguous about their sexuality. The Beatles medley, not great but it made me appreciate the Beatles. The salsa, oh my gosh the salsa. I resisted the temptation to scream "I love you, Ronan!" during the quiet bits.
So yes, I have seen Take That. But remember - Tom Middleton of the gorgeous Global Communication cut his teeth on pop music, as did the Doves when they were Sub Sub. And where would the Prodigy be without one of the greatest pop tunes ever, and, um...
...I'll get my coat.