Gary Barlow jokes about Co-op Live as Take That moves show to rival AO Arena

Take That on stage Credit: MEN Media

Take That frontman Gary Barlow has joked about the band's relocation to a rival arena after they moved their gigs from the troubled Co-op Live Arena.

The pop group made the "difficult decision" to move their five-night stint from what will be the largest arena in the UK after the Manchester venue suffered a number of “technical issues” forcing several other performers to postpone their shows.

Instead they moved across the city to the AO Arena - with Barlow joking as they took to the stage for their first night, "Well thank bl**dy God we got on here tonight".

Mark Owen later thanked the 22,000-strong crowd for their understanding and patience.

He said: "Listen a few days ago we weren't sure if we would get to do a gig so we're absolutely made up and we say thank you to all you wonderful people for crossing the street and coming over to see us here, thank you to the AO Arena for putting us on here tonight, it's been absolutely amazing."“We could not, not play Manchester, we’re so happy to be here," he added, before smiling and saying: “Good luck Co-op,” prompting a laugh from the crowd.

The band performed some of their best loved hits for thousands of fans Credit: MEN Media

The band - made up of Barlow, Owen and Howard Donald moved their concerts just a week before their opening night after a series of issues saw Co-op Live postpone its opening three times.

One gig, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, was cancelled as fans queued outside after part of an air conditioning unit fell from a ceiling during sound check.

At the end of April, Peter Kay’s performances were postponed, before A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s gig on the rearranged opening night on Wednesday 1 May was called off at the last minute and moved to the AO Arena on Saturday, 4 May.

On 2 May, the venue provided an update after it postponed a number of gigs and said it would be taking "a short pause to events at Co-op Live to fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue".

But, despite the issues, the venue which will seat 23,500 people when it opened, assured music fans the venue will open on 14 May before revealing American rapper Travis Scott, will be performing in just eight weeks time.

Take That were able to move all but one of their May shows to the AO Arena for the same night as originally intended. Their 8 May show will take place on 9 May, and they will also play Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the venue.

Their two shows for June 11 and 12 are still scheduled to take place at Co-op Live.

The relocation has seen fans express their “anger” and “disappointment” after their concert seats were changed.

Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen at the AO Arena Credit: MEN Media

Some fans have seen their front row seats bought for Co-op Live changed to other blocks at the AO Arena

Ticketmaster said it worked with the event promoter to “move fans to a location as similar to their original booking as possible”, adding that “some seating locations will vary”.

Both have reiterated that full refunds would be available if necessary.

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