Take That at Ashton Gate: Review, highlights and set list on an astonishing night in Bristol

Take That at Ashton Gate Stadium, Saturday, June 8, 2024
-Credit: (Image: RHM Productions)

Huge flames, shiny suits, a rotating stage, fireworks, tickertape blizzards, two revolving stages, a 1950s TV show and the water geysers borrowed from The Mall at Cribbs - it’s easier to think of what Take That didn’t bring to Ashton Gate Stadium on a spectacular night in Bristol.

The trio banged drums, played instruments, danced, told stories and sang their little hearts out for 30,000 adoring fans, who were treated to the biggest, most lavish staging and show ever seen in BS3 since the start of the huge stadium gigs back in 2019.

But the incredible spectacle wasn’t masking the music - this is Take That we’re talking about here - and a band with, count them, 11 number one hit singles to their name, had the luxury of leaving a couple out and mixing all the classics from those two golden periods in the mid 1990s and then in the late 2000s, along with songs from the new This Life album.

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As it happened: Take That at Ashton Gate updates

The show lasted just over two hours and came in four parts. The first set the scene, starting with the first two songs from the new album. It wasn’t until five songs in that Everything Changes arrived to get the party started with some '90s nostalgia for the huge crowds of (mostly) women of a certain age.

By then we’d already had a taster of the elaborate staging. To start with, Gary, Howard and Mark entered the stage through a giant TV set, which then broke apart to form a pair of revolving staircases. By the time we got to Mark Owen belting out one of Take That’s best songs - Shine - we had huge jets of water, better than the ones at the bottom of the escalators at Cribbs, shooting up from the front of the stage.

The second phase began as a small army of technicians dressed in white coats set up a 1950s TV studio, and the band embarked on a journey telling their story, with narrated pieces to camera introducing the songs, Barlow’s solo rendition of A Million Love Songs kicking the nostalgia off, and the band were into their groove.

There was time for a bit of Bristol-specific banter with the crowd: Howard feigned innocence as he asked "Do Bristol Rovers play here?", with Mark having to apologise for him. “No! He does this every ground we go to, trying to stir it up,” said Mark.

“We know it’s Bristol City,” he added, before giving a shout out to the Rising Sun pub, the nearest to the stadium, which he says he saw was packed with fans as the band arrived earlier this evening.

Then came a third section with the band heading down the catwalk to the B-stage in the centre of the Ashton Gate pitch in mirror suits on a stage that lifted up AND revolved at the same time. A high-energy rendition of Relight My Fire had them returning in the middle of a stage that was ablaze with flames, along with fire shooting from the top of the entire set high into the South Bristol sky.

The fourth section brought the show to an astounding climax. Just when you thought you’d heard all the hits, the band finished off with five household name bangers - Hold Up A Light, Back for Good, You and Me, Never Forget and Rule the World to finish, as the fireworks lit up the sky over Greville Smyth Park. “See you tomorrow,” called Mark at the very very end, and 30,000 people roared their approval.

The show was extraordinary, the most breathtaking Ashton Gate has seen since the big concerts were brought back to BS3 after the redevelopment of the stadium in the mid-2010s.

The Killers brought a huge bank of screens for a audio-visual spectacle that was rather cerebral, Elton John came with a moving grand piano and left on a stairlift to his waiting helicopter, Arctic Monkeys created Bristol’s biggest-ever moshpit, while the Spice Girls had a huge stage filled with dancers in the rain.

The first time Take That came in 2019, it was memorable - but this was unforgettable, an unrelenting show of a hundred moving parts, clever choreography, intricate stagework, storytelling and fire, water, snow, wind and lighting.

The setlist was as follows:

  • Keep Your Head Up

  • Windows

  • Giants

  • Days I Hate Myself

  • Everything Changes

  • Sure

  • Shine

  • A Million Love Songs

Gary Barlow, a piano and 30,000 people
Gary Barlow, a piano and 30,000 people -Credit:RHM Productions
  • I Found Heaven

  • Pray

  • Forever Love

  • Clementine

  • Speak Without Words

  • Patience

  • The Flood

  • Get Ready For It

Ashton Gate was absolutely full as Take That performed -Credit:RHM Productions
Ashton Gate was absolutely full as Take That performed -Credit:RHM Productions
  • March of the Hopeful

  • The Champion

  • This Life

  • Greatest Day

  • These Days

  • Time and Time Again

  • Relight My Fire

Relight My Fire saw flames shooting from the top of the stage
Relight My Fire saw flames shooting from the top of the stage -Credit:RHM Productions
  • One More Word

  • Hold Up a Light

  • Back for Good

  • You and Me

  • Never Forget

  • Rule the World