Review: Enjoying the atmosphere at a Take That concert and remembering a city break to Munich that coincided with the Progress Tour

The Olympic Park in Munich

The Olympic Park in Munich - Credit: Archant

Last weekend was not quite a holiday – but a real treat nonetheless.

Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen

Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen - Credit: PA

A Take That concert. Well it was for me, and I think Hubby also enjoyed it – the way he was jigging about to Never Forget...

I am not quite one of these people who will follow their favourite band around the world. However, searching out a Big Name Tour Concert during the summer is often also a good excuse for a nice city break.

As the lights dimmed and the deafening screams rang out, I thought back to 2011 and The Five Reunited – the Progress Tour and Munich.

“So what shall we do for our anniversary this year, then, dear?”

Busy Marienplatz

Busy Marienplatz - Credit: Archant

It was springtime and we had the same debate every year. Rather than giving presents, we preferred to DO something.

Hubby was inviting a discussion but this year I had it all sussed.

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“How about a trip to Munich?” I suggested.

Hubby looked surprised, but interested nonetheless. It was clearly not an option he had considered. He was probably thinking more like a day trip to London.

Andrea Powell

Andrea Powell - Credit: Archant

“Hum, yeah, s’pose we could,” came the measured response. “So why Munich?”

“Well, there is the pretty Marienplatz square, the Dachau concentration camp, the markets, museums and palaces, and of course the beer halls,” I replied, clearly fully au fait with all the best that this captivating city had to offer.

Hubby seemed unconvinced. He knew me too well.

“But why this year?”

Nonchalantly, it was time to make out I didn’t really know, didn’t really care.

“I just fancy it, really. It’s somewhere I’ve always thought of going.”

Not to be deflected, though, Hubby was clearly still sceptical and not ready to give in just yet.

“Yes, I know all that. But Munich in July will just be crowded and hot. Let’s go next June or something – before all the kids break up.”

“Well, I want to go this year – not next. I just thought it would be good to do something really nice for this year.”

But I had not done enough. Hubby was still suspicious. He gave me The Look.

“OK. Well, Take That are there over our anniversary. And I want to go.” To be fair to Hubby he did not usually raise objections to any of my travel plans. And I was especially unlikely to get resistance over “the Anniversary Trip”. Ever since the year he “forgot the anniversary” – getting on for 20 years ago ? he has still never been forgiven. (Yes, any issues with getting my own way at anniversary time and this long-ago event duly gets dragged out again and again. It’s served me quite well over time, really…) So I knew I was on solid ground. He is also quite a secret Take That fan. And he also loves any excuse to take a trip away.

“Of course you can,” came the reply, with a broad grin. “I knew there must be something – I just wanted to know what.” As I said, he had known me for too long.

The setting for the concert, the Olympiastadion in Munich. Given our own Olympics the following year, and the frenzy I was in at the time to get tickets for it, this just added to the excitement.

We had also decided upon a splash-out meal before the concert. Restaurant 181 – with its revolving floor 181 metres above the park. What’s more, they did a Sunset Menu. Handy on two fronts. It only cost the proverbial arm ? as opposed to arm and leg ? and meant we would be in plenty of time for the concert. Or so I thought. As we were shown to our seats, we could see right into the stadium and the set-up for the concert. Already, people had started to arrive. Great setting, great restaurant and great food.

And we had a lovely meal. It being a posh restaurant, we had dressed for the occasion, but co-ordinating dress for a slap-up meal followed by a Take That concert was, quite frankly, impossible. I decided my black, imprinted, Take That Progress Tour T-shirt was not really appropriate dress – even if trying to smarten up with a pair of trousers and sparkly necklace. There was nothing for it but a quick change of clothes in the ladies.

Getting a bit pushed for time by this point, Hubby hurried me off to get changed whilst he paid the bill. Emerging from the toilets like some “tonight Matthew I’m going to be...” Stars in their Eyes contestant, my smart cocktail dress had been replaced with a pair of scruffy jeans and my beloved Take That T-shirt.

But Hubby had yet to pay. As I took my seat again, the waiter hurried over. Good, I thought; we will be late if he does not hurry up. But it was not payment he had come for.

“Sorry, madam, your dress is inappropriate. I must ask you to leave.” The waiter had come to expel me from the restaurant! I had clearly lowered the tone. Hubby was now in a dilemma. As the sympathetic husband who also did not really want a row after a lovely meal and before what hopefully would be an even better concert, he could leave now before he had paid the bill. But then he risked being arrested in a foreign country. Or he could stay and be a free man, but one who was in the Bad Books. Hobson’s Choice, then. Hubby tried thrusting the credit card into the hands of the waiter, but he was too busy looking down his nose at this dowdy female ruining the tone of his restaurant.

Fortunately for Hubby, I was in a good mood. Next stop, Take That. What was I waiting for? So whilst poor Hubby stayed behind to protect our freedom and pay the bill, I rushed off to enjoy the concert. It was nearly an hour later when he caught up with me. Apparently the waiter had made him stay until everyone else had gone. Punishment for bringing such an unkempt partner to dinner, I guess. Poor Hubby. I barely noticed. I was too busy singing along and enjoying a little Patience.

Andrea Powell is owner and managing director of Idelo Travel in Ipswich. Contact: 01473 231181