Robbie Williams XXV Tour: Resorts World, Birmingham, Sunday 17th October 2022.
Robbie Williams erupted over the packed arena like a 21-gun salute of Moët champagne corks with “Hey Wow Yeah Yeah” before delivering the money-shot number “Let Me Entertain You.” Had this been a lover, I would simply have pulled the covers up and lit a cigarette as I sought to recover for round two – but this was Robbie Williams at his erotic best – vitality, velocity, vulgarity, and vulnerability.
Sure, he has an ego – who else could pull off the super-sonic showman style in a glitter ball suit that the boy done good from Stoke-on-Trent wears with a nonchalant swagger?
But this homage to his life, career, drugs, sex, and scandal, was more about the intimacy he openly shares with his adoring fans who span a vast age spectrum. His obvious and unyielding emotional connection throbbed throughout the throng as he described what it is to be human – at times with bluster, but often with the bewilderment best crystallized within the words of his epic autobiographical wonder “Strong.”
Hearing Robbie’s world view, one is reminded of the sage words contained within Monty Python’s film ‘Life of Brian’ – “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” And upon listening to the classic “Rock DJ” the line ‘I’ve got the gift, gonna stick it in the goal’ spoke directly to me as one who also enjoys tucking my gift in between the posts; but his humour should not obscure his deft ability to explore the yin and yang of life and the contradictions with which we all struggle. “Come Undone” smashes this paradigm and savours the saint and sinner within all of us. On a personal note, I love the guy as he uses the word ‘fuck’ quite a lot – probably my all-time favourite term.
Whilst writing this review I found myself compelled to reconsider my own headline since another plausible evaluation of this blockbuster could easily be ‘Robbie bears all in Birmingham.’ His soul was up for scrutiny, and he was prepared to explicitly share his scars and salvation. His testament to his good friend Gerri Halliwell, who helped him through his nervous breakdown – “Eternity” – moved the audience to sit, whilst his now brilliant life was captured by the ballad “Love my life.”
And how does the man every woman wants to sleep with, and every man wants to call his mate, end this extravaganza? There is only one word: “Angels.”
Robbie Williams is a paradox wrapped up in an enigma, and an entertainer par excellence.
Make sure you get a fix sometime!
© Ian Kirke 2022 / @ianjkirke