By Leah Victoria
Artist: Robbie Williams
Date / Venue: Tuesday November 3rd, 2015 - Vector Arena, Auckland
If there is one thing that 25 years in entertainment has taught Robbie Williams, it's how to keep a crowd in suspense.
Robbie began his closing show in Auckland last night by communicating with his awaiting audience before he even stepped foot onto the stage.
In uber cool Mission Impossible style, words appear across the big screen...."Hello"...... Is anybody there?"........ "I want to contact the living"......Teasing the crowd who are excitedly expecting him to appear any moment.
His larger than life silhouette paces back and forth across the scene before he bursts out onto the stage looking every inch the star he is in his black suit and aviator sunnies and straight into the tours namesake Let Me Entertain You and big hit Rock DJ.
Armed with a large and a fantastic sounding support band including trumpets and horns, 4 gorgeous female vocalists/dancers and his name in bright lights behind him, Robbie took to the stage and did what he does best. Owned it. I was left no doubt that this show was gonna make the big impact it was obviously designed to. Superb lighting effects created a big rain storm as he bounced through Monsoon and in true down to earth Robbie style, came down off the stage to greet his adoring crowd made up of men and women of all ages.
Next up one of my personal favourites, Come Undone. Released in 2003 during his "off the rails" days, the music video was heavily censored by MTV Europe for its debauched content! He encouraged the audience to join in and sing, but it seemed like the Kiwis were not too familiar with the words to this one!?
After his performance of Win Some Lose Some from way back "When I was famous", Robbie mentioned briefly his early days in Take That, and launched into an example of Everything Changes expecting the crowd to continue the song... but nobody knows who Take That were?! (I was singing along!)
To educate a few of the younger ones in the house he grabs opening band Lawson up on stage to help him out with Take That's 1995 hit Back For Good... I'd say at least half of the arena knew the words and sang along. I know I can speak for the original Take That fan girls that we appreciated this tribute to the band that made him famous.
It seemed like Robbie wanted to gauge the age of his audience and rattled through a few "Do you know this one?" including Angels, Wonderwall by Oasis, and Supreme..."yeah that was a massive hit let's do it!" After that awesome trip down memory lane, things get a bit more intimate. Robbie grabs his guitar and settles down at the end of the runway surrounded by the crowd. He talks a bit about his two children and how much he has been missing them while on tour. Motherfucker was a song written for his son, and dedicated tonight to his daughter who has been recently repeating Daddy's naughty words!
This snippet into his personal life was the only clue that this lovable northern rogue is now all grown up!
Keeping along the family theme, a short way into Better Man, a rather dapper looking Pete Williams (aka Robbie's' Poppa) strides onto the stage and down the runway, microphone in hand to join his son in this tribute written for dads. He exits the stage looking emotional, and Robbie assures him it won't be their last time on stage together. "Love you Poppa" Rob calls after him.
We Will Rock You came accompanied by bone rattling bass and a light show of throbbing speakers. It was loud! A lucky girl called Morgan got some time up close and personal with Robbie in bed for Hot Fudge(though not before he had satisfied himself that she was of legal age!), and Feel was accompanied by an awesome laser and smoke show.
He paid tribute to Kiwi music with a rendition of Lorde's Royals, and had the whole venue on their feet withMillennium.
He paid every inch of the stage attention and interacted with his audience as if there were only a few in the room. To create that kind of intimate atmosphere in such a large venue is a one of Robbie's very special skills.Hey Jude and Kids were sung in a medley and followed by an awesome version of Bohemian Rhapsodycomplete with the original Queen video playing behind him. It's quite clear that Robbie is a huge Queen fan, and the cover was by no way meant to compete with Freddie Mercury's high notes, so I don't feel the need to bash him on that!
I could feel the end approaching as he made his way through She's The One and Angels, both of which had the whole venue singing and arm swaying in time.
This week Robbie has fallen victim to a bitter review, and caused plenty of media buzz ahead of his Auckland show with a Tweet showing music critique Simon Sweetman holding his son, captioned "Baby Eater". It seems he wasn't quite ready to leave it at that though! He began to recite "Hello Sir". The bonus track poem from his 1997 Life Thru A Lens album. Orginally written about his high school teacher who bullied him and told him he would never amount to anything. He adapted the ending perfectly to suit the occasion.
But thanks for the advice and I'm sure it'll do
For the negative dickheads just like you.
As for now I've a different weapon
Stage and screen is about to beckon.
And here I sit in first class
Simon Sweetman, Kiss my Fucking Ass...
The crowd cheered him on in full support, it was obvious that Sweetman's venom wasn't going to spoil the night.
Robbie had a bit of a heckle with some of the crowd in the high seats as they got up to leave just slightly ahead of the end. "Hey where ya going? We're not done yet!" he called after them! "Oh have you got kids who will wake you up early in the morning? That ok then you can go"! The words of an understanding parent there!
He wrapped up the nearly 2 hour show by letting us know it was his first tour that he hasn't ended up in rehab by the end of and treated us to a bit of his crooner karaoke style with My Way.
He promised us he wouldn't leave it so long before his next visit and asked us how we were fixed for 18 months time. I'm gonna hold him to that. He left the stage singing an acapella repeat of Angels... leaving us to finish it as he disappeared off down the stairs.
All in all, I'm confident that absolutely everyone was entertained. I left with sore cheeks from smilling. Robbie Williams was nothing short of awesome tonight, he's still got it!