When I began working after leaving school, I had a fair bit of disposable income. I bought myself a cheap car and put an expensive stereo system into it. My main aim at that time was to make the music loud enough that I could not hear my tone deaf friend singing in the car. I did succeed.
Each week on payday, I would drive to Castle Plaza after work and go to the music store. CDs were the format of the times, we are talking 1992-1993. I would buy enough cd’s to fill my 6 cd stacker each week, maybe two music “albums” and four singles.
One week I stumbled upon a new group I had not heard of before, an band from the UK known as “Take That”. The music shop had a super special deal – buy the CD and you got a free music video with it. The moment I bought that deal, my fate was sealed. I was to become a Forever Take That fan.
My Mother found it somewhat hilarious that it was a UK group. She had been a huge fan of the Beatles back in her day. She remembers going to Adelaide Airport to greet them. The sheer pandemonium caused by the Beatles trip to Adelaide was pretty crazy.
I became a collector of Take That items. Whatever I could get my hands on, I would collect it. Even the dolls which as I recall were considerably Up Money as they were imported from the UK. Soon my room began to look a little.. crazy, with posters everywhere. I started to run out of wall space and had to blu-tak things to the roof.
My favourite band member was Mark Owen. This was due to the fact that he always seemed to put the most energy into his performance, especially the dancing. Any fan of the band would always have their favourite member and for many people their favourite was Robbie Williams.
In 1995 it was announced the band would tour Australia. I got my tickets as early as possible, I do not remember how that all came about or where I had to go to buy them. But for any self-respecting fan with disposable income aplenty, attending the concert would not be quite enough.
We planned to stay at the same hotel as the band though we had no idea which hotel it would be. Back in those days the two big 5 star hotels in town were the Hilton and the Hyatt, so we made a booking at both of them. We were there to meet the band at the airport, where they were mobbed by fans and loaded into two Toyota Tarago vans.
I do remember vividly that fans were thumping the vans with their fists, so hard I thought the windows would break. I did not do any thumping, in fact I remember I was pretty angry with the people who did that and the saner fans among us us told them to stop. They did not listen, though.
We raced back to the car like crazy people and took off to “follow” the band – of course miles behind them by the time we got out of the carpark. When we drove past the Hyatt, the two Taragos were out the front, so we knew where we would now be staying and cancelled our booking at the Hilton.
We were not the only fans who had this idea – in fact there were so many fans who stayed at the hotel, plus all the fans camped out the front, we were all asked to wear our room keys around our necks so they could tell we were guests and not just fans trying to sneak in.
Here you see Gary Barlow and Howard Donald in their Tarago, taking off from the Hyatt. I’m thinking they were on the way to sound check before the concert but I really can’t recall exactly when this was taken. This was back in the days before digital cameras.
Mark Owen did get into our lift. I cannot remember anything about this moment except how shiny his hair was. I know he talked to us and asked if we were going to the concert. The rest of that lift trip is a complete blur. The concert is a complete blur.
The only other thing I do remember is when the band went to the pool – we heard they had gone but it was closed so they could use it in peace. Our room had a view of the pool, but we were on a very high floor. Here we all are, trying to spot them.
Robbie Williams went on to be the more well known artist in Australia after he left the group. The group did break up not long after he left the band and all went their separate ways. They reformed as a foursome in 2005 and went on to write and perform some excellent music much of which we never heard here in Australia. But those of us who are fans, we followed along from afar.. :)
The band recently announced they are touring Australia in November. I happen to have a good friend who lived in the UK, she has always been a fan and she had went to quite a few of their concerts.
When they did a live cinema event a couple of years ago here in Australia, she asked me to go with her and of course I did, it was great. So she was the first person I spoke to as soon as I heard about the tour, and of course both of us wanted to go. I bought the tickets on pre-sale a couple of weeks ago.
So there you have my crazy teenage fan story. ;) I guess I was lucky that by the time I became a crazy teenage fan, I had my own car, I had a job, and I could afford my obsession.