Posted by: martinworster | March 17, 2017

Robbie Williams – Colossuem, Watford (Live Review)

robbie williams

For the 1800 people gathered at Watford’s Colosseum seeing Robbie Williams perform in such a small venue was bound to be a treat. The gig had not been advertised except for in the local paper and it was billed as a warm up for his headlining show at Ireland’s Slane Castle this weekend.

As soon as Robbie took to the stage you could tell that he’d been missing British audiences due to his heavy US promotional schedule over the last year. “Did you miss me?” he shouts. “I’ve been away in America. I’m glad I’m in Watford.” His career might be taking off in the US – he’s just filmed an American version video for ‘Angels’ – but it’s the Brits who have really taken Robbie to their hearts. They get his jokes, they understand his ups and downs, they live life through his lense and they love him to bits. He’s relishing being at home.

First song in is the showstopping ‘Let Me Entertain You’ which sees Robbie cartwheeling and springing round the stage. As much as it is about his music, Robbie is the consummate entertainer – his routine is full of gags and his repertoire of facial gymnastics would leave even Jim Carey frowning in the shadows.

“I’ve got some brass in tonight,” he quips, referring to his in-house wind section. “I thought I’d get a shag!” The pun is not missed on the audience. Even the younger members – and there’s a large proportion of families here – all seem to get the joke.

His set quickly develops into a selection of his greatest hits with ‘LazyDays’, ‘Strong’, ‘No Regrets’, ‘Old Before I Die’ and ‘Win Some Lose Some’ all getting aired. This is exactly what the people want, stirring up the mass karaoke factor Robbie’s music inspires. In between each track he banters with the crowd, saying hello to his gran in the balcony and even managing ashort skit version of Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’.

It’s obvious his heavy US performing schedule has made his routines polished through practice. His band is tight, Robbie never misses a note and every routine is fixed to the beat. The ballad ‘She’s The One’ – to be the next single – also gets the sort of response that shows he’s the master at touching people where it counts. “It really means a lot when you all join in.” he implores.

Last track is ‘Angels’ – ‘this one made me a lot of money’ – and this gets the whole crowd stretching their lungs and waving their lighters. Like his infamous version of the song at Glastonbury 1997, Robbie just adds the odd line and joins in on the chorus. You know the words. All he has to do is act as vibe conductor.

Thankfully throughout the show Robbie manages to steer clear of mentioning Take That or Gary Barlow. There’s not even the punk version of‘Back For Good’ which has been a feature of some of his recent gigs. It’s good to see he’s moved on and got over that part of his career. The life of a solo artist, even if it does owe a great deal to cabaret, was definitely his calling.

Surprise surprise Robbie complies with the stamping and chanting for an encore. This is when he really gets into cover version territory. First song is Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’, then he does Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, a raucous version of Blur’s ‘Song 2’, a James Bond version and finally he ends on‘Millennium’.

“Did you get your money’s worth?” We think so. The Watford mob are obviously touched that he chose them for this unpublicised event. He performed here two years ago and obviously loved it so much that he did it again with a crowd who are fully representative of his fanbase. If this was the warm-up for this weekend’s Slane Castle show then the people of Ireland are going to get one heck of a show.

This review was submitted by Martin Worster

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