Take That - Beautiful World Live DVD

Further proof, if any were needed after 2006's 'Beautiful World' album, that Take That's return is one of the few recent reformations worth embracing. Despite the canny marketing (not a single mention anywhere on the packing, inside or out, that this show from the December tour was filmed in London village and not in front of their home crowd) this is as good a representation of a large-scale theatrical pop concert on DVD as I've seen. Spectacle ? Just a bit. If you stumped up the £45 you sure as hell got your money's worth.

As you might imagine, they don't just stroll on, say hello and get on with it. The intro 'performance', featuring ballet dancers and opera singers, and taking place on the other stage, lasts the best part of ten minutes. When the boys appear, a strident blast through 'Reach Out', you can see the production designer's been at the cooking sherry, the stage set a grey, dystopian edifice out of Orwell, the boys stood behind politician's lecterns. It gets dafter. The stage becomes, variously, a disco, a circus and there's a cracking use of projections during 'Never Forget'. Walkways across the arena seem an obvious feature. The set is weighted heavily, thank god, in favour of 'Beautiful World' (despite a baffling omission of Howard's epic 'Mancunian Way'.) Apart from a call-and-response routine towards the end, the early stuff that only women like is largely ignored. Highlights : 'Patience', 'Back for Good', a thumping 'Shine'. There is, sensibly, minimal dancing. Banter between songs is never anything but humble, good-natured and, as a reaction to the crowd response, awestruck. Jason picks up an acoustic guitar for a lovely reading of 'Wooden Boat' and thanks the band for "more than covering my arse."

It goes on for two hours, is as spectrum-shreddingly colourful as you like and puts to shame those with more credible reputations who can't come close to putting on a performance quite so smart and dazzling. Plus, the whole thing is fantastically filmed and edited; for once, rather than the usual hastily assembled collection of quick-snap edits and fawning close-ups, you do pick up on the scale of the event and feel like, ahem, you're actually there. Corny but true. Which, on reflection, is as good a summary of this lot circa 2008 as you're likely to hear.



out of 10

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