Robbie Williams at the London Stadium
In a stadium that is accustomed to football chants came a night of galactic cheers; pop-royale Robbie Williams ended the first leg of his tour for his latest album, The Heavy Entertainment Show, in the UK among his unyielding fans, branded with his insignia RW. Being the first solo artist to headline at the London Stadium, the anticipation certainly jittered knees to finally bare witness to a kingly performance by one who has earned his place as the entertainment luminary.
Before he appeared, the “Robbie National Anthem” engaged the audience to stand and sing along, playfully recognising past defects of the performer’s tabloid fame and hilariously reminding us all that he is still one to be reckoned with. This was a perfect moment for Williams to emerge from the stage floor wearing a boxing robe and surrounded by semi-naked boxing women. Igniting the set with his most recent single, named after his latest album, a crowd no different than one forming in Glastonbury that same evening erupted – shaping the rest of the night to be a festival-esque ritual of raised hands and bouncing patrons.
Along with his unblemished charm, Williams gave his audience a goodie-bag of past favourites and the recently beloved. From performing Let Me Entertain You, Come Undone to his 2016 single Party Like a Russian and Motherfucker (humorously dedicated to his son), his robust voice proved unwearied from over two decades of performing. Apart from momentary glimpses of past stage habits, such as lifting his kilt for all to see, a sense of maturity in dazzling the stadium was evident also. Accompanied by a small orchestra of trumpets, trombones, percussion, guitarists, violinists and a handful of backing singers, once the singer was raised off stage above the crowd by a boxing-glove lift for Love My Life, it was assured that he needed no more crude antics to prove his imaginative prowess in capturing his audience.
Featuring covers such as his first 1996 solo single of George Michael’s Freedom 90, he swooned the fans by having his father join him on stage in a warming rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. After feeding those desperate to hear the 2000 UK chart topper Rock DJ, Williams capped the remarkable evening with an encore devoted to recent British tragedies and sang Angels with the altered lyrics We’re still singing our song/ We’re strong, while the thousands of attendees turned their flash on on their phones, creating a remarkable illusion of a canopy of stars swaying in a clear night’s sky. Such an awe-inspiring moment of mass raw emotion was enough to end a stunning night of endless surprises, however, what Robbie Williams show would it be without fireworks? As his anthem goes: He Still Rules the Throne, and quite rightly so.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information and future events visit the Robbie Williams website here.
Watch the video for The Heavy Entertainment Show here: