Gary Barlow in Dubai interview

We catch up with Take That frontman and solo artist, Gary Barlow ahead of his concert at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre

Interview, The Knowledge

Gary, welcome back to Dubai. You’ve been many times before. Since our last chat, Jason Orange announced that he was leaving Take That.
I know and I was going to tell you and give you the exclusive as well. (laughs).

So were you shocked or did you know for a while?
We’d known about it for a couple of years and we sort of waited and waited and said, ‘You know, do you want to do it this year?’ and we got sort of tired at waiting in the end and so we said to him that we we’re going to go make a record this year and that we’d keep him informed. So we waited again and we just couldn’t wait any longer so we basically said, ‘Are you doing it or not?’ That was it really.

You said you’d like to bring Take That to Dubai. Are you still planning on doing that now?
You know what, I think we will. I’d love to do that. It’s a big touring year for us next year. We’re going to be playing UK, Ireland, Europe and I just don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t come back to Dubai. I think I’ve been sent to do the recce if I’m honest. See what the crowds are like, see what the gigs are like.

You and Robbie have patched things up since your past fallout. Is there still rivalry between the two of you?
There’s massive rivalry between us, it’s enormous and it continues. We banter each other all the time. Whenever we’ve got a new record, he’s there listening and when he’s got a new record, I’m there listening. It’s always going to be like that. We love what we do and we are very supportive. That’s the difference. We support each other these days.

Why do you think that is, what’s changed?
Well before we did the Progess album, we all met and we had a bit of a sesh- were it was like bringing up all the old stuff. It was a bit silly really, especially because we’ve both got kids and stuff now. It was like, ‘we have to put this to bed.’ And we did and we made a record and did a tour. It was like a healing couple of years. So no everyone’s on good terms. I think for anyone that enjoys the band, it’s going to be a bit of a revolving door now-who joins for which record and albums and I think it’s going to keep it interesting.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I have split my trousers a few times on stage and I remember someone telling me, ‘If something happens on stage, share it with the audience’ because they love it when something goes wrong. Both times I’ve said, ‘Excuse me everyone’ and I turned around and showed them the tear and they just went mad. Don’t try and cover stuff up.

Do you have a favourite gig?
This year I did a tour and it was one of those weird things, if you do like a 20 night run, one or two of them will be unbelievable, but every night was just the best night you’ve ever had on stage. I don’t know why that is. I just seem to be enjoying doing what I am doing more than ever again. I think I’d have to say every night.

Have you been watching the UK X Factor this season?
I’ve seen one, only because I’ve been out of the country a lot but I saw the judge’s houses. I used to love filming that weekend. So it looks good.

Louis or Simon?
Louis.

What brings you the greatest joy?
Music obviously. I mean I’m lucky because my work is my hobby and I love it. So it never feels like work. And my children and family life, home. There is nothing like a live show for me. It’s where I started when I was 11 years old. I played live the first sort of five years of my career and I’ve never lost that thrill of wanting to get on a stage. Over and above recording and writing, I just think that live is more popular than it’s ever been.

Who do you follow on Twitter?
I obviously follow all of the guys in the band (Take That’s Jason, Howard, Mark and Robbie). Howard is quite funny on Twitter, he’s quite rude, so check him out. I like Keith Lemon too.

What about James Corden? You made a documentary recently for BBC One with him which saw the two of you bantering each other.
You know he played a video of him when he was 13, and he basically made Take That and put himself in the middle, doing all the routines. I think it was a bit of a dream of his come true, the whole boy band thing.

What is on your bucket list?
I’ve done a lot of great things. I don’t really have one. I like doing things for the first time, like coming to Dubai and playing here for the first time. It’s great because I’ve been doing this for 24 years now, so doing firsts doesn’t happen very often anymore.

What about Skydive Dubai?
You know my son wanted to do that last year but he wasn’t old enough and I was going to do it with him. I’ll add that to my bucket list.

Do you have a favourite magazine in Dubai?
It’s got to be Time Out Dubai. It’s funny though because I love the New York one and the London one. For me if I’m going somewhere, I check that, it just has everything.
Gary Barlow Live. From Dhs 295 to Dhs1000. Doors open 6pm-midnight, Friday October 17. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City. www.timeoutickets.com

Gary Barlow’s Top Five in Dubai

Favourite restaurant: Sky View Bar in Burj Al Arab

Favourite waterpark: Wild Wadi

Favourite hotel: That’s a tricky one because there are so many now. I do like the One & Only. They are always nice but we always used to stay down in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, free access to Wild Wadi!

Favourite Beach: Sunset Beach

Favourite Mall: Mall of the Emirates

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