przed: (tt ot4 group hug)
[personal profile] przed
I flew back from London last night, after a super short, but super awesome trip.

The main reason I flew over was to see Take That, but since I was going to be over anyway, I thought I'd take in a play as well. My lovely host, [personal profile] halotolerant, picked The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar, and it turned out to be a brilliant choice. It's a Brecht play, a satire on fascism, and starred the brilliant Lenny Henry. Seeing it the day after the British election, it took a whole different, hopeful tone. The main floor of the Donmar had been set up as a speakeasy, with the audience sitting at tables scattered through the floor, and various audience members pulled into the action. The strongest bit was the end when the audience is either asked to stand with the reprehensible Ui or to resist against him. A heartening number of the audience stood with the resistance on the floor, hands linked together. It was an amazing theatrical experience.

Saturday, we started with a leisurely shopping trip around the West End, broken up by a delicious dim sum lunch, then headed over to the O2 for the concert.


After standing in a very long queue to get through security, we grabbed a quick bite and notice a couple of people with Take That standups and a big photo booth and had to check it out. Turns out you could get your picture taken with standups of the band. Which resulted in this:


I am ridiculously fond of this pic.

Silliness dealt with, we headed into the arena. The band performed the show in the round, with the stage in the middle of the floor.


It was a brilliant set up, because you got a good view no matter where you were. And there were video screen scrims that sometimes showed the band, and sometimes showed some pretty amazing effects.


The band were in brilliant form, and they did a set list as good as I could have hoped for, including two Mark songs from the last two albums, Superstar and LoveLife, that I didn't think I had a hope of seeing live.

But the best part of a Take That gig is just being in a big space with a whole bunch of people, mostly women, who love the band as much as you do and throw themselves unabashedly into the experience. Halo and I danced through the whole night, and we hugged during Pray and threw our arms in the air with everyone else during Never Forget. (I've seen them three times now, and I always get a little teary during Never Forget, and I hope that never stops. It's just amazing to look all the way to the very back row of the very top section and see the people there participating as enthusiastically as the ones in the front row. It very much is a communal experience.) And then at the end, everyone turns their phones into fairy lights for Rule the World.



Sunday, was a much less energetic day, but no less awesome. Halo and I met up with [personal profile] solosundance and [personal profile] heliophile (waves!) for lunch at the wonderful Tas, and then popped around the corner to the British Museum to see the Hokusai exhibit, which was as great as I'd hoped. Halo then suggested a visit to a fab little LGBT exhibit they have, with a side trip to the Warren Cup, an amazing bit of Roman homoerotica.

Then there was a nice dinner and a viewing of The Winter Soldier, because apparently I'm not the only one with Cap and Bucky feels.

It was a short, concentrated trip, but I feel like it had exactly the right mix of doing stuff to just hanging out.
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