Gary Barlow at The O2, Dublin – Review
Gary Barlow at The O2, Dublin – March 31st
With the range in generations attending The O2 tonight being one that is hugely varied, it looks as if there’s going to be a great atmosphere here, celebrating the return of Gary Barlow to Dublin. Before he arrives on stage there is a video montage of his time in the spotlight, and showing when Take That stopped in 1999. Then it goes on to show what he has accomplished in the last few years, with his voice narrating it, talking about his return to the music scene. With this raising the anticipation, when he arrives on the stage the venue is buzzing and with ‘When I Saw You Last’ starting off the night, the show is off.
One of the strangest elements of tonight is that many people seem to be here for ‘Gary from Take That’ rather than ‘Gary Barlow’, with people shouting requests for Take That songs and the crowd going mad and dancing around during his performance of their songs, and sitting down and chatting during his own. The saddest part about that is that he himself seems to know that, and a large portion of tonight is dedicated to that part of his life. It’s entirely noticeable that when he sings Take That Songs such as ‘Greatest Day’ and ‘Back For Good’ the atmosphere in the arena is much more excited. He even sings a cover of his former band mate Robbie Williams’ song ‘Candy’, which all though may be an irritating song, is also ridiculously catchy and it looks like he is having fun with it.
For a man who has done as much as he has, Gary Barlow really takes the time to chat to the crowd, even bringing a girl up on stage for ‘A Million Love Songs’ (again, a Take That song, if he is trying to distinguish himself as a solo artist, he’s really not doing himself any favours by putting these all in the set!). His sense of humour and banter that comes across throughout the night really is a lovely aspect to the night and it makes the atmosphere really very pleasant. He even jokes about the fact that it’s mostly women in the crowd and when he asks only the men to sing and they’re actually pretty loud, he says “that is the sound of 3000 men who have been dragged to a Gary Barlow concert.” Similar to this, he doesn’t seem to take himself overly seriously, when he pulls out old Take That dances, he and the crowd are all laughing and loving it. If not anything else, his personality alone would make this an enjoyable night.
However, there is much more to this than his character, tonight is filled with some great tunes, songs where he shows his brilliant vocal abilities and some really touching moments, such as when the Clontarf Community School join him on stage for ‘Sing’. He said during the concert that “hopefully there’s something for everyone in the show”, and there really was. As the final pieces of confetti hit the ground, Gary Barlow’s big return to Dublin is finished, and he definitely gave the fans what they were waiting for.
Review by Orla Conway