British pop group Take That kicked off their first tour as a five-piece in more than 15 years on Friday night (27May11), as Robbie Williams took to the stage with his bandmates for a spectacular stage show.
The band reunited with the Angels hitmaker last year (10) for the first time since he walked out on the group in 1995.
They have been working on their Progress Live 2011 tour for months, and more than 54,000 fans descended on Sunderland's Stadium of Light venue in northern England for the debut show of the trek - and they weren't disappointed.
Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard Donald kicked off the show without Williams, performing Rule The World and several other tracks they have released since they reformed in 2006.
With fans screaming for the absent pop star, Williams' voice then boomed across the stadium, declaring, "Twenty years in the making, 15 years in the waiting, five years deliberating. Ladies and gentlemen, the Take That show. I'm very proud to be a part of it all again."
He then flew out of the extravagant stage set - which featured a giant robot statue - to perform five of his solo tracks; Let Me Entertain You, Rock DJ, Come Undone, Feel and Angels.
The five-piece were then reunited and sang a selection of their latest hits, including Kidz and The Flood, and classics such as Pray and Never Forget from their 1990s heyday.
They finished the set with a rendition of Eight Letters, which saw the stars leave the stage and walk through the audience.
Speaking after the concert, Barlow told Britain's Daily Mirror, "We loved that, it was brilliant. It felt right and hopefully that came across to everyone out there. We started planning this tour back in September - it's been a long time in the making.
"The boys have worked really hard at it, all five of us, and discussed things down to the last detail - from song choices to set ideas. Everyone's been heavily involved. It felt great having Rob back up there and I guess, after that, it would be unnatural now for us not to work together as a five. It would seem weird. So, yes, it looks like this is the future."
The five-piece will perform 36 concerts across Europe during the massive trek, which ends in July (11).