REVIEW: Flat shoes and a stout heart needed for Gary Barlow gig

Gary Barlow on stage
Gary Barlow on stage
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A Gary Barlow concert is not for the faint-hearted.

Oh, and remember to wear your flat shoes as fans were on their feet right from the start (in the stalls where we were anyway).

As expected it's a mainly female crowd, with Gary telling the men "fellas it's not all bad, you'll never have to queue for the toilets at one of my shows!"

Meanwhile those in the know had come armed with banners, hoping to be the one chosen to join him on stage.

This time it was Nicola (from our row no less), who was the lucky one and got to sit alongside her hero for a rendition of A Million Love Songs, plus the chance to take the best selfies ever.

Gary has always been a good friend to Blackpool, telling the audience he had been here "hundreds of times on holiday as a child".

This time he was playing two sell-out nights at the Opera House as part of his Theatre Tour.

It's chance for fans to enjoy a more intimate gig, but there was no sacrificing of the party atmosphere with the show kicking off with Since I Saw You Last and Greatest Day.

The set list includes a good dose of Take That hits, but Gary also showcases his solo work such as Open Road and Forever Love.

Some of the Take That material has been given a new musical arrangement with a more grown up swing-influenced sound to songs such as Everything Changes and Sure.

His versatile band including a fabulous horn section delivered a powerful sound while Gary's voice easily filled the vast auditorium.

The female vocalists helped him belt out a high-octane version of Relight My Fire, while the singer-songwriter also performed some of his musical theatre work including Something About This Night from Finding Neverland.

Throughout the show Gary maintains an easy banter with the audience which comes across as genuine appreciation of the fact they have always stayed loyal to him and his music.

It's a relationship which if this concert is anything to go by, shows no signs of diminishing.