Gary Barlow left red-faced at being called out for Queens Jubilee concert decision

Gary Barlow recalls pitching unprepared at Buckingham Palace

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“The weekend before [the] concert, I got a cab and the cab went past the back of Buckingham Palace and the guy said: ‘Sorry guv, I’ve got to go round the corner – some t**t’s put a stage in the middle of the mall,'” the Take That hitmaker has revealed in a new interview. A no doubt red-faced Gary Barlow admitted: “I was, like, ducking down in the cab.”

I was ducking down in the cab!

Gary Barlow

The humiliating moment occurred during a moment of improvisation, after Gary had to pitch himself and his ideas at a table full of dignitaries and government ministers – and he found himself completely unprepared.

In a moment of madness, desperate for inspiration, he had gesticulated at the window as he passed by, exclaiming: “And the stage should be there!”

He pointed at the cenotaph – and, to his later embarrassment, “that’s where the gig ended up”.

The singer spoke out to Kate Thornton on her podcast White Wine Question Time.

The format had been “three thought-provoking questions punctuated by three glasses of wine”.

A characteristically blunt Gary had enquired incredulously: “So we’ve got to drink three glasses of this?”

However he quickly got into the rhythm of the interview, as Kate summarised: “You inadvertently turned up to Buckingham Palace, completely ill-prepared, for a meeting that you didn’t know you were supposed to be pitching at, for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations.

“You walk into that room, full of those people, and it becomes apparent that you are supposed to stand up and show them how you’re gonna mark such a massive occasion – and you were unprepared.

“That’s right up there with those dreams, where in the middle of them, you end up on the train naked.”

However, Gary confessed that he had “built” a talent for swift improvisation due to his “years of putting on concerts” – and he performed well.

In the eyes of the taxi driver, of course, whose route was completely obstructed in the lead-up to the celebrations, the plan was not a hit.

His input was certainly taken seriously by the leaders of the event.


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“This is a table full of dignitaries, the culture secretary…” Gary recalled.

“They had prospectuses,” he laughed incredulously.

“They had printed out everything.

“A private secretary to the Queen, a lady called Sam, said: ‘Right, let’s start this and let’s kick off with you, Gary!’

“I was sat there right next to her and I was first up – and I had nothing!”

“As I started to wander around the table,” he added. “There was some good stuff coming.”

He had certainly convinced his audience – and the nation would later hear Gary Barlow and The Commonwealth Band’s rendition of ‘Sing’, which he co-created for the celebrations.

From dumbfounded last minute improvisation to playing a key role in the 90th birthday celebrations of the Queen, Gary’s life seems never to contain a dull moment.

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