Take That star Gary Barlow talks ahead of Birmingham show
It’s been 20 years since Gary Barlow last played Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. And the Take That frontman is back with two shows on Thursday and June 15 – having already played a series of sell-out gigs around the UK.
The last time Gary played a string of venues this size, demand was so high he could have sold certain venues out six times over.
The singer said: “I had such a lot of fun back in 2013 when I played those smaller venues because you’re so much closer to the fans.
“The audience always seem to love the intimacy of it all too. I’m also really looking forward to playing in a couple of cities I’ve never played before as well as getting a chance to meet the fans there.”
Gary found worldwide fame as a member of British pop group Take That. Since forming in 1989 Take That have won eight BRIT awards, sold more than 45 million records and more than eight million concert tickets.
Gary is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters, having written 14 Number One singles as well as being a six-time recipient of an Ivor Novello Award, including the award for Outstanding Services to British Music. Aside from his achievements with Take That, he has also co-written and produced music for other renowned artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams.
His last solo record Since I Saw You Last sold more than 600,000 copies and was the ninth biggest selling album that year. In more recent years, Gary has also turned his attention to the world of theatre, composing the score for the hugely successful production Finding Neverland, working alongside screenwriter Tim Firth to write the music and lyrics for musical The Girls and also working alongside his Take That band mates to produce The Band, a record breaking musical featuring the music of Take That.
Gary is happy to be back on the road – where fans have been bowled over by his slimline figure.
“My business is music. I wanted to tour, I want to make records – I love that.
“And I get paid for that very nicely. I don’t need to make money off telling people how I’ve lost weight. I can do that through Instagram, because people shouldn’t be charged for that.
“People should be able to click on there and learn the odd tip. My tips come from various people. I’ve picked them up over the years and I use them to help me.
“But it’s not a diet – it definitely isn’t.”
Gary has become something of a national treasure and last year he delivered a moving speech following the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
His words resonated with many when he said: “A horrific terrorist attack took place, stealing the lives of 22 people while injuring and maiming hundreds of others.
“Their lives were changed irreparably forever. These beautiful music loving people were unaware their lives would be taken.”
He went on to pay his respects to Ariana Grande, as he added: “A few weeks later Ariana returned to the scene of the tragedy. It was an event that epitomised the human spirit. Fear will never divide us. They will always live on in our hearts and memories.”
Gary’s success has been hard earned and he found things tough at the start of his career when he was faced with constant rejection.
“When I was 16, I took a demo tape to the publisher of a record company, who played it while I sat there. He then opened the window, threw the cassette out and said, ‘Never come back again’.”
And his Take That days were also filled with plenty of ups and downs, including one memorable evening when he split his trousers. “I split my trousers on stage in Germany in the early Take That days. I made the situation worse by edging over to the side of the stage. I should have just gone to the crowd, ‘Look what I’ve done!’ They would have loved it.”
Gary still keeps tabs on Robbie, to make sure he’s okay. “He loses his way a bit and it really goes to show how haunted he is by that side of life. All of us worry about him constantly. He’s still the baby of the band to us. He was 15 when he joined Take That, just about to be 16.”
More recently, he’s stuck up for his pal, Ant McPartlin, over the TV presenter’s well-publicised troubles.
He told interviewer Dan Wootton that Ant reminded him of his friend and former Take That band member Robbie Williams. “I don’t really know what happened. It’s the same as Rob, everyone just wants the best for him. I just want him to get better, because we’ve all grown up seeing those guys in telly, they’re a TV fixture. Every few months I love to watch them, they’re incredibly funny. I send the best to him.”
Away from the stage, Gary is happily married. In 2000, Barlow wed Dawn Andrews, who was a dancer on Take That’s 1995 Nobody Else Tour and they have three children, Daniel, Emily, and Daisy. He keeps his family out of the spotlight and is rarely seen out and about with them keeping his private life just that.
We’re running out of Patience and are ready to see Gary Shine on stage.