Take That perform at Tel Aviv's Menora Mitvachim Arena, November 27, 2017 .
(photo credit: ORIT PNINI)
Legendary British boy band Take That rolled back the years at Tel Aviv's Menora Mivtachim Arena on Monday as they charmed concertgoers on the group's first ever, long-awaited visit to Israel.
The award-winning band's current line-up, featuring Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, kept the lively audience on its feet for the entire set - 90 minutes of hits and harmonies by the 1990s heartthrobs. The atmosphere was electric.
The absence of former band members Robbie Williams and Jason Orange was not noticeable as the trio impressed the crowd with their greatest hits and still-flawlessly choreographed boy band dance routines.
Starting the concert with some of the band's later hits, "Shine," "Get Ready For It," and "Greatest Day," they soon took the 8,000-strong crowd "back to 1991" on a journey of nostalgic high-tempo anthems and slow love songs including "Pray," "A Million Love Songs" and "Relight My Fire."
Barlow, the band's lead singer, skillfully held the group's vocals and harmonies together throughout the set. His talent is undoubtedly the key to Take That's successful comeback and return to the summit of British pop.
Eager to impress and conscious of the fact that fans had waited nearly three decades for a concert on Israeli soil, they enthused the crowd with their Hebrew efforts. Rather than a crowd of expat Brits, the arena was packed with local fans.
The crowd might have gone home happy after hearing "Shalom, Tel Aviv." But the band had done their homework. "We're having fun here tonight," said Owen in Hebrew.
"Ani Mark, Ani Gary, Ani Howard, Anachnu Take That. Did we say that right?" The crowd excitably approved. Owen clearly enjoyed saying "Todah" ("Thank you") to the crowd after almost every song and medley.
Arriving in Israel after a series of concerts in Australia and New Zealand, the pop legends managed to visit some of Israel's key sites prior to their concert, posting photos on social media from the Dead Sea, Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The next stop on their foreign tour is Dubai.
As expected, the band saved their most anticipated anthems until last. A rousing encore of "Back for Good," "Rule the World" and "Never Forget" left fans feeling at least 20 years younger than when they entered the arena - feeling like teenagers again.
This three-piece version of Take That continue to perform with the youthful passion that has maintained their popularity over the decades. Based on Monday night's concert, and to the delight of their fans around the world, Take That still have plenty of years left at the top of the pop game.
"Thank you for waiting for us," said Barlow to the appreciative crowd. "We came here eventually and I promise we will be back."
The many concertgoers sporting t-shirts with "Finally Israel" emblazoned on the back will hope Take That keep their promise, and come back soon for another night of nineties nostalgia.