The Lord doth proclaim thou shalst start with Let Me Entertain you and thou shalst end with Angels and so it shalst be
Those were the (almost) final words of Mr Williams during his gig at Wembley on Saturday 29th June and they, partly, sum up the Robbie Williams show. Yes, you could say Robbie’s live shows have become somewhat predictable over the past few years. Predictable in the sense that you know he’s going to belt out some of the biggest hits from his back catalogue, you know he’s going to be an entertaining cheeky chappy, and you’re pretty darn sure you’re going to be leaving that gig with a huge Robbie induced smile on your face. Oh yes!
The other thing that’s predictable about Robbie’s gigs is how early his die hard fans will camp outside in order to get a glimpse of their idol. The last couple of times I’ve seen him live I’ve mostly watched on the big screens. I’m only 5′ 4″ and refuse to wear heels to a gig, so I struggle to see over shoulders and, well, we’ve not been all that good at getting to the gig all that early in the past so Robbie has kind of been a little fleck on a very big stage. There was one time when I saw him at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester and he was life-size. I desperately wanted to experience that again – I didn’t just want to see Robbie on a screen – I wanted to see Robbie! And I did.
Hubby is thankfully quite understanding to my Robbie Williams obsession. I think it was a case of ‘love me, love my obsessions’ and so not only agreed to accompany me to the concert, but also agreed when I suggested getting there three hours before the gates opened so we get a good view. To be fair it was a sunny day and there was a nice atmosphere outside Wembley. A DJ played requests and Robbie songs to the waiting fans who were perched on the tarmac waiting to be let in. I took a trip down to Maccy D’s to get some snacks and the only slightly eeky moment was when they decided to start moving the queue (which hubby was in) whilst I’d decided to take myself off for a toilet visit.
We were richly rewarded for our early doors approach. OK so hubby did roll his eyes at me as I ran towards the standing area of the arena, but he went along with it and we soon found ourselves in the second row behind the barrier. Not quite in the bear pit, but still with a dang good view. A view which I had a sneaky suspicion was about to get a lot better.
We drank beer and tried to get comfy for two hours before Scott Mills came on to warm us up with a DJ set. The Nicki Minaj kick off I could take or leave, but We Will Rock You by Queen and some old Ibiza classics soon had me boogying. Next up Mr Olly Murs, who was, frankly, ace. Olly is often seen a mini Robbie and you can see the similarities with his cheeky chappy banter with the audience. But Olly is much more self-depreciating that Robbie. His voice is impeccable and he now has a distinguished catalogue of sing along tunes. At one stage Olly wears himself out and lays prone on the stage. The crowd scream. He stands up, smiles, and looks behind him. “Has Robbie come on?” he asks.
And, then, we wait…
The candy man can…
The music signals the imminent arrival of the main attraction. The crowd, lead by two lighting guys, high up in the rigs start swaying their hand from side to side. Then Hey Wow Yeah Yeah starts playing and we know it’s getting closer. Next thing we know Robbie is stood on top of huge profile of his own head, protruding from the stage set. There’s pyrotechnics ahoy either side of him and then he zip wires down onto the platform only a few feet away from me. I go so mental that the accompanying iPhone footage which I shot of said descent is embarrassing, if only for my mad banshee screaming. What can I say? I love Robbie I couldn’t help it.
And then he kicks of the show with Let me Entertain you and we’re away…
Whilst, some of the show is comfortably predictable (like a favourite comfortable sweater) there are other aspects which aren’t. The giant structures modelled on Rob’s own bonce which make their way into the crowd and shoot out fireworks, balloons, streamers and water are straight out of a Take That tour. In fact, you can’t help but think that Robbie has learnt a few lessons in slickness having toured with the boys not so long ago.
I’m a true
stalker fan so the “you know what to do’s” and album tracks, which others don’t know so well, go down well with me. I was so pleased he did ‘Not Like The Others’ from his new album, Take The Crown. There’s something about that song for me and hubby. I guess all couples think they’re not like any other couple, but hey… singing that to each other at the top of our lungs was good fun.
Then there’s the banter. The slightly altered opening lyrics to his cover of Minnie the Moocher. “There was a man from Stokey who was a little but cokey.”. Trying to invent his own version of the Mexican Wave – the Stoke Sit Down – before declaring it very underwhelming. Robbie can play with the crowd like few others and the crowd love it.
Olly rejoined Robbie on stage for Kids. It shouldn’t have worked but it did. In fact the only parts for me which dragged on a bit were when he performed Me and My Monkey (for some reason I don’t get on with that song) and when he plucked a fan from the audience to appear on stage with him for Everything Changes, and that part was only dull because the ‘fan’ seemed really unbothered by the whole being on stage with Robbie thing. That, and she was wearing very strange trousers.
We danced, we sang, we screamed. There was plenty of opportunities for me to see life sized Rob. Which had me jumping up and down like a mad woman trying to get his attention. I swear all my street cred disappears as soon as you put me anywhere near Robbie. Not that I had all that much to begin with!
And then once the high octane thrills, the laughs and the swoons are starting to subside comes Angels. Robbie belts it out. We belt it out. He sits back and takes us all in. Fireworks blast into the night sky and tears begin to stream down my face. It’s been perfect. Robbie delivered a top-class show and we, the fans, got to show him just how much we love him. There’s a special energy in the air as Robbie joins us for one last chorus of Angels before requesting that we carry on as he exits the stage. And we do. We stand there staring at an empty stage screaming the lyrics out at the top of our lungs. Because that’s what seeing Robbie Williams does to you.
I know I’m biased. But bloody hell that was a good show. The perfect combination of Robbie’s ad-lib style that he does so well, blended with a pinch of slickness. Every time I see Robbie live I wonder if it will be the last time. He has such a love/hate relationship with the career he has chosen. But let me say, after that performance it better bloody not be, ‘cuz I want me some more of that! Love you Robbie!