Take That gave fans in Middlesbrough a night they’ll never forget on Friday at a packed out Riverside Stadium.

Concertgoers were wowed with a musical spectacle of the band’s biggest hits charting their journey from formation to today, drawing on their back catalogue of more than 30 years of number ones.

More than 30,000 fans descended on the venue for the first outdoor date on the trio’s ‘This Life’ tour - their idea of a very nice day out.

The Northern Echo: The stage for Take That at the Riverside.The stage for Take That at the Riverside. (Image: Adam Kennedy)

Many queued for hours in anticipation for the gig, Take That’s first on Teesside in five years after last playing the Riverside in 2019.

The Northern Echo: The crowd were in good spirits ahead of the gig.The crowd were in good spirits ahead of the gig. (Image: Adam Kennedy)

After support from Olly Murs who got the crowd into gear with some of his own hits and a couple of Take That numbers including ‘It Only Takes A Minute’, excitement was whipping around the stadium.

The Northern Echo: Olly Murs provided support.Olly Murs provided support. (Image: Adam Kennedy)

Before long, at about 8.25pm Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen made their way onto the stage.

The group made a grand entrance, appearing underneath a parting staircase centre stage, as an abundance of confetti spiralled through the crowd.

The Northern Echo: The trio emerged from under a parting staircase.The trio emerged from under a parting staircase. (Image: Adam Kennedy)

It was a subdued start to the gig, with some lesser-known new numbers - Keep Your Head Up and Windows from their latest album - at the top of the setlist, but by the time the threesome got to their fifth and sixth numbers, Everything Changes and Sure, the sound of plastic seats flipping up could be heard rippling through the stands as fans sprung up to dance in the aisles.

The Northern Echo: Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow of Take That.Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow of Take That. (Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)

Barlow and co. drew on their ‘This Life’ name by showing us Take That’s life, with a narrative arch journeying the crowd from the early 90s with some of the numbers which shot them to popularity, through to their latest hit This Life.

The Northern Echo: Take That at the Middlesbrough Riverside.Take That at the Middlesbrough Riverside. (Image: Adam Kennedy)

The chronological setlist even gave all three members the chance to show off their solo skills, referencing their 1996 split, before coming back together and through to the present day. Howard even performed ‘Speak Without Words’ what was due to be the first single on his never-released solo album.

By sunset it was time for some of Take That’s biggest hits with classics like ‘The Flood’, ‘Greatest Day’ and ‘Relight My Fire’ proving to be crowd favourites before the night drew to an end with ‘Never Forget’ and ‘Rule the World’.

The Northern Echo: Take That on stage on Friday (May 24).Take That on stage on Friday (May 24). (Image: TERRY BLACKBURN)

The staging was slightly more subtle than Take That fans have come to expect through the years with no giant mechanical man or elephant in sight. Instead, two staircases on the stage were the centrepiece, although there are only so many times you can watch three blokes climb and descend a stair. There was no shortage of production, though, with pyrotechnics, confetti, dancing fountains and a spinning platform in the middle of the pitch.

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There’s a reason why Take That are still playing arenas and stadiums 30 years into their careers – because they’re naturals at it.

Perfect vocals, sometimes cheesy 90s dance moves and the all-important skill of knowing how to work a crowd make this trio experts at their craft.

Hopefully it won’t be too long to wait before Take That are back in the North East, but for now we’ll just have to have a little patience.