Gary Barlow to bare his heart in Dubai

And just like that, there were three. Just short of 25 years in the music industry as one of the world’s biggest boy bands ever — yes, they had a bit of a head start on One Direction — Take That is now a trio.
It’s potentially nerve-racking, considering the band’s last album Progress, released in 2010, broke so many records and even became the fastest-selling album of the century in the UK. But Robbie Williams, who left the band earlier, returned to help make that album. And Jason Orange, who announced his departure last month, was still a member.
Now, as the band, which formed in 1990, prepare to release their seventh studio album, III, the pressure’s going to be on Gary Barlow, team leader and chief songwriter.
“It’s a new era,” he tells tabloid! before his solo Dubai debut on October 17.
At 43, with four solo albums behind him, not to mention the eight No 1 albums, 15 No 1 singles and 30 million album sales he’s had with Take That, Barlow is used to the ups and downs of the industry. He’s also had many devastating personal struggles; he lost many so-called friends after his second album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days, failed to take off; he lost his father suddenly in 2009 and he and his wife Dawn lost their fourth child, who was stillborn.
Barlow poured his heart and soul into his last album, Since I Saw You last, also the name of the world tour he’s bringing to Dubai. He spoke to tabloid! about what the songs in the album really mean, about performing in the UAE for the first time and what fans can expect from the new Take That album.

Hello Gary, where are you right now as you’re answering these questions.
I’m sat at the back of my house in LA at the breakfast table. My daughter is eating a chocolate croissant next to me. As usual here it’s sunny here.

If you were in Dubai right this moment, what would you be doing?
We’ve had many holidays in Dubai as a family. Wild Wadi is our favourite!

Tell us a bit more about your last visit here. What did you get up to?
We usually go for holidays in October at half term. We love the hotels and water sports. We also went to the desert for dinner once.

We know you’re bringing the best of Take That with you to Dubai. But how much from your solo albums can we expect on set list?
I do an equal split of my solo material and the Take That hits. There’s something for everyone.

Can we expect any surprises?
Oh with live shows there’s always surprises. I’m looking forward to bringing someone in Dubai up on stage and serenading them.

Which Take That song gets requested the most?
Back for Good

You’re ending your tour in Dubai. If you were to sum up the entire tour in two words, they would be?
Absolutely fantastic

Any particularly memorable locations on the tour?
Manchester is always a good show as it’s like going home and the Scottish audiences are always great too.

After all these years, do you still get the jitters before getting on stage?
No, I haven’t had a nervous moment for many years. I can’t wait to get on out there to be honest.

What are Gary Barlow’s pre-concert rituals?
Vocal warm up, seeing the band, calling home.

You’ve been known for writing so many iconic ballads, tell us a little more about where the songs on ‘Since I Saw You Last’ came from?
The album is all about the journey from 1999 to now. It’s lovely for the fans to hear as many have been on this whole journey with me.

Some of them are really dark. Did it take a lot of courage to record it and put it out there, and prepare for public scrutiny?
Ha! That’s true, maybe I didn’t think that one through. They’re true and real.

You credited your duet partner for ‘Face to Face’, Elton John, for helping you through your darkest times. Tell us a bit more about the kind of relationship you share with him?
He’s such an amazing friend. If ever anything bad happens in my life he’s always one of the first people to make contact. I also love listening to music with him. He is still the biggest music fan I’ve ever met.

Are there any songs you wish you had not released?
Yes, ‘Love Won’t Wait’. I always hated that song. It was the label who convinced me it was a big hit and right for me. It really wasn’t. I’m best performing my own material.

You’ve come full circle as an artist. From spectacular highs to the lowly lows. If you were to advise rising stars in the music industry anywhere, what would you say to them?
Have fun, enjoy it, I never enjoyed any of our success in the ’90s. I just spent the whole time worrying. Music is meant to be fun.

Do you think you’ve mastered the art of being a celebrity?
Oh I hate that word. Its’ taken on a whole new meaning recently. I’ve never dreamed of being a celebrity, just a singer songwriter. Being famous is just part and parcel of that.

With the end of the tour, what next?
It’s back to Take That for me. An album later this year, a tour next year hopefully and then, well, lets do it all again. I think in 2016 it’s our 25th anniversary so we might do something around that.

How is the new Take That album coming along?
We’ve loved making this record and it’s very nearly finished, It’ll be our first album in four years so it’s really important to us. Making a new studio album is always exciting. A new era.

And can we expect another tour, this time including a stop in Dubai?
Yes, yes, yes. I love firsts and we’ve never played in Dubai. What’s going on?
I really can’t wait!

— Tickets to Gary Barlow’s Dubai concert are Dh350 (regular), Dh450 (seating) Dh600 (fan pit) and Dh1,000 (VIP, inclusive of food and drinks). They will be available at Virgin megastore outlets and For more information, go to