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ROBBIE WILLIAMS @ Perth Arena gets 8.5/10

Robbie Williams @ Perth Arena
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

8.5/10

I honestly expected a nice night of nostalgia from noughties pop star Robbie Williams, but a sold out session of debauchery was what he delivered on Wednesday.

Perth Arena was full. With a demographic of late 20’s and beyond, mums and daughters were out in full force with their paper signs of I <3 u Robbie and light up headbands. Already there was such a strong sense of excitement as we were asked to stand for the national anthem of Robbie Williams which included the lyrics “God Bless Our Robbie, he is so well Hung!” An American boxing ring announcer asked us “are youuu ready to rumble?” before six glittering and scantily clad boxing dancers came running out. The brass section, guitarists, and back up singers in sheer, knee high boots set the precursor for the theme of James Bond-style class and opulence.

After such a build up, out came Robbie with his ‘Blue Steel’ lips and outrageous energy. After a prelude of a song used for the promo of his Heavy Entertainment Show tour he launched straight into Let Me Entertain You. Prancing about on stage the show pony exuded his relentless ego about before introducing himself with “I am Robbie fucking Williams. This is my band, this is my cock and your ass is miiiine.” Absolutely shocking. Jaw dropping. And it was refreshing, he was so unapologetically himself. He got the crowd singing along with Monsoon as he rocked out in his little kilt/ netball skirt and his thick gold chains. After his swing number Minnie the Moocher, it was safe to say that in his ripe age of 44 he isn’t showing any signs of slowing.

The most memorable anecdote of the night was his story of the 1994 MTV awards in Berlin and he’d been walking the hallways of a hotel when he met his idol George Michael. He continued to say, “If God gave me one cock to suck it would have it been my own, but if it had been two – well lets just say George missed out that night,” before bursting into Freedom as a tribute.

Throughout the night if there were any subconscious judgments you’d made about Robbie, he brought them straight into the limelight and tore it to shreds. Thinking he’s becoming a bit old? He prided himself on being a veteran entertainer. Maybe he’s put on a bit of weight? He laughed along with the fact he’d put on 15 pounds. Appeared a bit rough and uncouth? He responded with “I had a huge fucking solo career and now I’m a cashed up bogan.” His brutal honesty felt real, it felt electrifying.

Bringing it down a tad he dedicated I Love My Life it to all the mummies and daddies whilst he floated above on a rotating boxing glove. Soon after he got a frenetic fan to start the beginning of Come Undone before inviting her on stage for a park bench duet of Somethin’ Stupid. Positively made that girl’s life as she sung and swayed in his arms.

With the fairly serious undertones of female representation in the music industry currently it was very 90s of him to have had all these women as objects of desire, but there was nothing seemingly malicious in this apparent objectification but rather more respect to the power of seduction and that he was just a malleable fool drooling after them.

He joked about his position in the premier rap artists of England alongside Dizzee, Stormzy and Skepta as the laser beams came out for Rudebox and although it was a little cringey it mixed up the vibe. His performance for Kids was made phenomenal by both his and the back up (not so back up) singers’ vocal range and power – blowing it completely out of the water.

A small sentimental section saw him bring out his papa and sing a duet on the sofa to Sweet Caroline before giving us She’s The One. A small changeover with the lights down felt a heavy rumbling from the subs and an outstanding opera interlude before thrusting us into Feels.

In a sea of neon lights the British pop/rock star begun to wind up on Rock DJ before chants of “Robbie” called him back for Better Man that apparently only saw its success in Australia. He thanked the band, the dancers, the techs and management in a seemingly genuine proclamation before ending on Angels with Guy Chambers himself on piano.

After what seemed an eternity of applause, whistles and a standing ovation, Mr. Williams returned to the stage once again for an encore and thanked us for standing for the Australian national anthem at which the introduction to Men At Work’s Down Under begun – another final tongue in cheek comment for the night. With just him on stage he closed the night with an a cappella call back of all the songs he’d sung throughout the night as a lovely reminder.

MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES

Photos by Sharon Burgess

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