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Take That confirm 30th anniversary tour and greatest hits “with a twist”

By | Published on Tuesday 17 July 2018

Take That

Gary Barlow has confirmed that Take That will tour next year to mark their 30th anniversary. The news comes after they failed to pull together a full reunion to mark their 25th anniversary last year. Which, you’re right, is confusing.

Just so we’re all up to speed, the last attempt at a big Take That celebration was to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of their debut single in 1991. By the time they abandoned that idea, it was nearly the 26th anniversary. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the genesis of the group in 1989, when it was just Gary Barlow and a pending audition process. You know, the classic anniversary that people celebrate. If this venture proves successful though, they can carry it on into 2020 to celebrate the group’s actual formation.

As well as the tour in 2019, Barlow tweeted yesterday that the band will release “a greatest hits with a twist” later this year. Which sounds like it could be an ironic greatest hits, where it’s filled with filler tracks that no one likes. Or maybe it will be a generic hits album with a cover of Chubby Checker’s ‘The Twist’ at the end. Or perhaps the physical version of the record will come with an actual slice of lemon. Got to have a gimmick, right?

Actually, it’s likely we already know what the twist is based on a recent interview on ‘The One Show’. In that, Howard Donald revealed that the group – with its current three man line-up – had re-recorded a load of old Take That songs. Donald told the BBC show that they had been “recreating some of the songs for the greatest hits”, and that they planned to include three new tracks on the hits record.

Barlow added: “We’ve re-imagined some of the songs, but not all of them. You’ve got to be careful with these things. If you take them too far, you’re destroying people’s memories. We’ve tried to be respectful to the music, but just putting a load of music on an album wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to just go back and have a look through it, and try to make it sound better”.

Recording new versions of the hits kind of makes sense. Take That are quite a different outfit now, compared to 30 years ago. And a record of how their performances of those songs have changed might be quite nice. Also, in the streaming age, you could argue that the standard greatest hits compilation no longer makes any sense. People can just make a playlist of their own favourite tracks right now, so why try to force a selection on them?

Of course, there’s still a fairly large market for any new Take That CD out there, but the band have already released four greatest hits records. Which means the average CD buying Take That fan will already have at least one of those. So maybe they’ll be more inclined to buy another hits record if it offers something a little bit different.

Indeed, the “greatest hits with a twist” format seems likely to become ever more prevalent in an age of streaming playlists. It’s a whole new avenue for aging artists looking to milk yet more money out of catalogue, having done pretty much all the standard compilation and re-release products before. Elton John, of course, recently released two compilations featuring other artists performing his most popular songs.

In his tweet, Barlow goes on, “in 2019 we will turn our recordings into a live show featuring all the hits from the last three decades”. Which presumably means a show including the reworked versions of the old hits. So, that’ll be nice, won’t it?

You know what would be nicer thoughy? A proper full-on reunion of all five members of the group. Maybe. Barlow ruled that out earlier this year, but now The Sun seems pretty convinced that Robbie Williams will be involved in the anniversary tour in some way.

Although Williams might now be a little too busy to get involved with any extensive touring and all the prep that comes with it. He’s just signed up to be a judge of the next series of ‘X Factor’. As well as Simon Cowell, Williams be joined by his wife Ayda Field and former winner of the show – as part of One Direction – Louis Tomlinson.

He’s not the first member of Take That to take on the role, of course. Barlow did it for three years. He had some words of warning for Williams, which are possibly code for “there’s no way you can do our anniversary tour now”. He told The Sun: “It’s going to be great, but I know what’s to come with that show. I know what it does to you. He’s got some hard work ahead, that’s for sure. I’ve told him it’s a lot of hours – more than people realise. It’s tiring”.

Full details of the tour and greatest hits compilation are expected shortly.

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