The 2011 stadium run, which saw Williams rejoin the group for the first time since 1995, is the biggest in UK history, with over 1.8 million tickets sold. The accompanying Progress album (Polydor) was also a huge hit, selling 2,394,457 copies in the UK, according to the Official Charts Company.
Speaking in this week's issue, the pop superstar credited the support of bandmates Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Jason Orange with enabling him to ease his way back into the limelight around the turn of the decade.
“I needed a place to go and hide in public," said Williams, who releases his first festive album, The Christmas Present, on Friday (November 22). "I’d taken three years off and my body, mind and psyche had just collapsed. I didn’t know who I was, why I was, what I was doing, or what I was doing it for. And I wanted to come back because I knew at some point I’d enjoy my job, which I am now, but I needed stabilisers.
"The boys helped me to come back to the public whilst, at the same time, getting rid of a bunch of rocks – resentments that I’d carried around with me for decades. So I got to unload a bunch of rocks, I got to come back and perform in public, I got to sell the biggest album of that year [Progress] and do the biggest tour the UK’s ever seen in the history of music.”
When Oasis eventually get back together in five or 10 years' time, there'll be a wry smile that they won't sell as many tickets as we did
Columbia-signed Williams, who last week announced a 2020 Las Vegas residency, also tipped his longtime rivals the Gallagher brothers to put aside their differences and reunite at some point – but predicted they'd fall short of Take That's record.
"When Oasis eventually get back together in five or 10 years’ time, there’ll be a wry smile that they won’t sell as many tickets as we did,” he said.
Williams has performed sporadically with Take That since departing for a second time in the wake of the Progress tour, including at the 2018 X Factor final, and is leaving the door open to touring together again, albeit not any time soon.
“I do see a Take That reunion in the future," said the 45-year-old. "When and where, I don’t know. I would think it would be more nearer pension age than midlife crisis age.”
Subscribers can click here to read the full Music Week interview with Williams.
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