Inside the Take That spectacular weekend which saw concerts return to City Ground after 19 years

The City Ground hosted a capacity crowd who couldn't get enough of Take That (inset) -a photo of dusk at the ground and an inset pic of Take That performing
-Credit: (Image: Nottinghamshire Live/Kevin Cooper)

It may be almost 19 years since a band played at the City Ground but, after this weekend's Take That extravaganza - during which the remaining members of the original 90s boy band played two consecutive nights - it is hoped it's not as long again.

Take That are currently staging a spectacular nationwide show with their This is Life Tour and the home of Nottingham Forest was more than up to the occasion for holding it, as fans travelled from around the country to see remaining band members Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald celebrating their ninth studio album with a stadium and arena tour, arrive in the city.

Originally, the show was only scheduled for Sunday night but ticket demand led to an extra night on Saturday being added. Nottinghamshire Live attended the Sunday show and was also impressed with the general set-up, from organised parking away from the venue through to security and catering.

READ MORE: Take That wow fans at historic City Ground concert in Nottingham - photo gallery

And, with a moving stage, water and fire special effects, a huge bank of screens projecting the on-stage action and a spectacular firework display to top the whole thing off, it was obviously equal to any indoor or outdoor concert event.

Some eager fans were queuing to get in when the doors opened at 5pm - in anticipation of the main act Take That but also to see the extremely talented singer Olly Murs, who could probably fill the stadium with his own show but was content on this occasion to support its stars.

Earlier rain failed to dampen spirits and, by the time people were starting to buy their merchandise, their beer and wine and take their seats, it had largely brightened up with plenty of evening sunshine and just the odd shower causing people to scurry under their plastic ponchos.

Liam Lind and Harriet Ball travelled from Grantham to see Take That - a photo of the two of them in the stadium
Liam Lind and Harriet Ball travelled from Grantham to see Take That -Credit:Nottinghamshire Live

Liam Lind and Harriet Ball had come from Grantham to see the show and said they were pleased with how near it was to home. Liam said: "We're looking forward to seeing Take That because it's the stuff our parents listened to and we want to see what appealed to them. In actual fact, we can probably identify more closely with Olly Murs because he is more from our era."

For 53-year-old Becky Loader, of Boston, it was her first time at any concert. She has always been a Take That fan and her sister had bought the tickets and gone with her. Becky said: "It was a complete surprise to get the ticket but I do love Take That and obviously I have never seen them before.

Sister Kelly Thompson added: "It is her first concert and we combined it with doing some shopping in Nottingham during the day."

Sisters Becky Loader and Kelly Thompson, of Boston, at Becky's first-ever concert - a photo of the two of them
Sisters Becky Loader and Kelly Thompson, of Boston, at Becky's first-ever concert -Credit:Nottinghamshire Live

Another pair, who did not wish to be named, had travelled from Derby to the gig. One of them said: "It's our second time seeing them in a month. We saw them in London and thought the show was so good that we decided to book more tickets and pop across to Nottingham."

So by the time Olly Murs came on stage at about 7.15pm, his arrival was eagerly awaited as he swung in to the classic Dance With Me Tonight and followed it up with many of his hits including Heart Skips a Beat and Troublemaker, which concluded the set after one hour.

After the Olly Murs warm-up, the capacity crowd was bursting to welcome Take That and every one of the 29 songs they performed in their set was warmly cheered and applauded. The age of the audience varied from a small child of about eight through to singing grannies nearer to 70.

Pics taken at Sunday night's Take That concert on May 26 at City Ground, Nottingham
The phones were lit up in the main stand for the final song Rule The World -Credit:Nottinghamshire Live

But that was okay because there was something for everyone and all three incarnations of Take That as a group were covered. It's probably easier to list something they didn't sing but whether it was Shine, Patience or You and Me which was a favourite, they were all there.

The fire display with jets of flame shooting upwards made Relight My Fire a spectacle, as did the use of confetti cannons which periodically shot out small pieces of paper, carrying it to all four corners of the stadium on the wind. Water jets and a moving stage, together with flashes of the dance routines from the early years, all added to the fun.

All three of them sang solos - Forever Love, Gary Barlow; Clementine, Mark Owen and Speak Without Words, Howard Donald - but activities such as several costume changes, a series of 3D effect screens using glasses to be found in the £25 programmes and hugs and kisses for fans in the front row VIP area all had to come to a halt eventually.

But not before Rule The World had every fan on their feet, if they weren't already standing in the pitch area, and the obligatory phone lights shining out around the stadium - all topped off with a precision-organised firework display. Then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, Gary, Howard and Mark were gone - leaving behind some very happy fans to make their way home.

It was in 2005 when US rockers REM left 22,000 fans thrilled by performing at the first-ever concert at the City Ground. It may have taken another 19 years for the second, but there were again "shiny, happy people" leaving the home of Nottingham Forest after a fantastic night of music.