GARY Barlow has got a new swing record on the way. "It's called Swing When You're Thinning," says the well-groomed 41-year-old.
HE even rubs the back of his head for good measure. And that's Gary Barlow all over. Decent singer, acceptable performer - great at making fun of himself. Tonight, he'll show us how all those hours spent rehearsing some rather complex dance routines have yet to change a man who has less rhythm in his bones than the Williams fella. Speaking of whom, Robbie's latest chart hit, Candy (co- written by Barlow), also makes an appearance. Alas, not every Take That-related number is as interchangeable as Barlow would like to believe.
But getting back to the point - the chap gives a masterclass in self-deprecation. Can't dance? He'll just laugh his way through it. Moondance? Actually, you should have left that one out, Barlow. He also gives good history, squeezing Take That's lengthy career into a few short quips. He knows his second solo record sold, "oh, about 27 copies", but hey, he's a TV star now. Take That is on hold -- why not cash in on the whole X Factor experience and give the fans something to scream about? Not that they need a reason.
An evening with Gary Barlow - though sprinkled with several of his band's latest offerings -- is all about nostalgia. Think Michael Buble (who gets a mention), only, with better songs. And better eyebrows. Indeed, Barlow is stuck in his very own time warp. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. For the most part, it only adds to the fun.
He's still working with the same musicians, too. And he appears genuinely shocked that the men in attendance know the words to his songs.
It's not nearly as exciting as watching Take That do their stadium thing. There are no giant robots -- just Barlow and his suit. But isn't it a fantastic suit? "Everything's a bit tighter after Christmas," he jokes. Pity we can't say the same about the setlist.
Still, even if Barlow does give in to moments of pure self-indulgence (there's a recorder solo in there), it's the big ones that always pull us back in.
Say what you like about the man and his cheesy stage antics, but there's not a boy band tune in the world that's better than Back for Good. Nice work.