Reformed U.K. pop group Take That has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music biz — the band will tour European stadia next summer.
The announcement was made today (Oct. 26) at London’s Savoy Hotel where all five original band members, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Robbie Williams held a press conference in front of invited media.
The “Progress Live” tour commences May 30 next year at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light before calling at the City of Manchester Stadium for a four-night run (June 3, 4, 5 and 7). Other U.K. dates include Cardiff Millennium Stadium (June 14), Dublin Croke Park (June 18), two nights at Glasgow Hampden Park (June 22 and 23), Birmingham Villa Park (June 27) and a closing four-night run at London’s Wembley Stadium (July 1, 2, 3, 5).
European dates include Milan’s San Siro stadium (July 12), Copenhagen Parken (July 16), Amsterdam Arena (July 18), Hamburg Imtech Arena (July 22), Düsseldorf Espirit Arena (July 25) and Munich Olympiastadion (July 29). The promoters are Manchester-based SJM and KSE; Samsung is the headline sponsor for the tour, which marks the first time that Williams will have performed with the band since the mid-nineties.
Tickets for the U.K. dates are priced between £55 ($87.40) and £90 ($143) and go on sale 9am GMT Friday Oct. 29 from a range of ticket vendors; tickets for European shows go on sale Nov. 5.
Confirming the tour, which had been widely expected ever since Williams announced that he was re-joining the band in July this year, Barlow told the audience that the forthcoming live dates would not be a “stripped back acoustic tour,” but will be “a big production stadium show.”
Williams also confirmed that he would perform a selection of his solo material at the live dates.
“There’s going to be a bit for everybody,” said Williams. “I’m going to be doing a bit. The lads are going to be doing a bit and then we’re all going to be doing a bit.”
“That’s an important message for the fans that are coming,” added Barlow. “In [these shows] they will get to see us all do our individual bits.”
Asked from the floor if one of the reasons why Williams had rejoined the band was that his solo career was beginning to stall, the singer issued a defiant response. Williams greatest hits collection “In and Out of Consciousness — Greatest Hits 1990-2010” (Virgin/EMI) debuted atop the Billboard European chart last week. (Billboard.biz, Oct. 21). The album was Williams’ ninth No. 1 in the U.K. albums chart.
“[My] Greatest hits [was] No. 1 in 14 countries,” the solo star stated. “[My] last album sold more than [Take That’s 2008 studio set, released on Polydor] “The Circus” so, at the risk of sounding like a sour puss — fuck off.”
Williams also spoke about the differences between being Take That now and in the mid-nineties when the Manchester-formed group had their first wave of chart-topping success.
“The first time around, there was a lot of power struggles with everybody and this time around there just isn’t,” a relaxed, jocular Williams said. “We’re all in it for the same reasons, the right reasons whatever they are and it’s a good thing.”
Reflecting on the band’s phenomenal success since they first reformed as a four-piece (minus Williams) in 2005, Donald added: “I truly believed at that time, I think most of did, that it would be a one-off — a trip down memory lane. But here we are doing our fourth tour and [third] album. I didn’t expect it; I don’t think any of us did.”
Take That’s new studio album “Progress” (Polydor) will be released Nov. 22 in the U.K. and is widely expeced to be one of the year’s biggest sellers. According to a statement from the band’s label, Take That and Robbie Williams have sold more than 80 million albums between them.