Queuing. Numbers on hands. Wristbands. Dealing with queue jumpers and barrier pushers. Having no time or money or energy. Having to try to get as much holiday as possible at work. Having everyone at work think you’re crazy. Having everyone think you’re crazy. Ticket co-ordination. Car runs. Back seats full of duvets and camping chairs. Lots of trains and even more Ubers. Forgetting what day it is. Waking up and not remembering which city you’re in. Seeing nothing of the city you’ve come to see them in. Finding a random supermarket and getting your queue food. Never looking at your bank account. Tickertape everywhere, in your pockets, on your floor, in your bra. Everywhere. Never ending selfies. Tour outfits and glitter and butterflies and flowers. ‘Do you not get bored?’ ‘Is it not the same show?’ ‘Do you work for them?’ ‘Do Take That know you?’ ‘How can you afford that?’
Getting takeaway to the queue. Having a drink in the queue. Sleeping in the queue. Spending pretty much your whole life in the queue. Arts and crafts in the queue. Trying to think of a good banner or dozen. Having everyone know the lingo when you usually spend a lot of time explaining. Meeting new friends in the queue, seeing old friends in the queue. Rain, wind, sunshine, all in the one day. Walking from the unofficial queue to the official queue in a sea of chairs and duvets and inflatables whilst the general public stares bemused. The queue looking like an abandoned village once you’ve left it. Planning your barrier strategy. Barrier runs. ‘No running’ ‘I’m walking fast!’ The joy of getting barrier. Barrier selfies. ‘SIT DOWN, SIT DOWN’. Starfishing. Not being afraid to use your elbows to get cheeky people away from your spot.
Learning to love the support act. Learning all their dance moves without even meaning to. Pascal. That moment when the arena goes black and everyone screams and your heart jumps. And then the boys come on stage and your heart fills with joy. Dancing like a loon. Trying not to take too many pictures but taking too many anyway. The band intro. The tickertape. The fire. The jump. ‘Do you feel like giants?’ Thrusting your hand forward with your index fingers sticking out cos that’s pretty much every single Take That dance move. The cast. The band and Kev and James and Paul. Doing the Relight arms over the barrier. Howard hanging in the air. Learning to love the medley and How Deep is Your Love. The stairs. Podiums. The very flamboyant outfits. Gary’s hair. Mark’s tassles and high shoes and hats. Howard’s booty shaking.
The joy whenever the boys have a cute moment with one another. The disbelief and exhilaration when they interact with you. And then turning to your mates around you and screaming about it and everyone being chuffed for you. You being chuffed for other people’s interaction. The Superstar rockstar moment. The gorgeousness of Hope but also dancer’s bums. Seeing not one bit of Shine. The New Day intro. The Back for Good arms. The hunger games battle for Mark’s water bottle. ‘We usually save our thank yous to the end’ No you don’t, you liars. The Pray dance, which NEVER gets old. The moment they all share the mic. Loving hearing the audience gasp at the production. Knowing when things don’t work. The beauty of It’s All For You. Gary’s bed. The epicness of The Flood. Going crazy to Cry and then not being able to breathe. ‘Everybody get down low’ Saying you don’t really care about a handshake but then when they walk by you suddenly want a handshake. Dancing to These Days on the barrier. The Never Forget claps. Looking around in awe at the synchronicity of it all. Even more tickertape. The arena filling with lights for Rule the World.
The boys saying bye and then you standing there dazed at the whole thing and how the last two hours lasted two minutes. And then getting about 3 hours kip before you do it all over again.
And all of it, all of it being about being with your mates. And the boys being there. Singing and dancing and sharing moments together. Making memories. The sheer joy you feel when you’re on the barrier and everyone around you is singing and you grin at your mates and you know that this is home. The tour bubble has its own magic. Where nothing else matters but tour. Because it’s special. It’s doing what you love with the people you love for a few weeks and having the best time ever. Not caring that you’re sick and broken and poor and tired. Because nothing else matters. Nothing but those hours of absolute happiness. Nothing but tour life.