What to expect from a concert where everything is to be expected because there’s no place for improvisation? Well, except for a slip at the beginning of a song and a last-minute change of mind towards what would be the choice of the last three songs, 2 hours of entertainment which worked like a Swiss watch. This was not a cheap show in any sense. While Robbie Williams might have had his moments in which ‘gross’ was a word that would collocate with his videos and yes, I’m sorry, his persona (or him, straightaway), nothing was to be qualified as that in a concert where swing and taste were the main ingredients.
Again, was it a concert or was it a show, what we saw at the Hallenstadion in Zürich last June 3? I’d go for the latter: humor, drama, “improvised” (ehem ehem) gags with “random fans”, cabaret, swing, a children’s choir… everything directed by (though not 100% focused on) this so-called (and self-called) “international pop star” who knows business and knows how to cast a spell with his voice (don’t believe whoever says he can’t sing live) and his once coarse but now restrained and elegant moves. Robbie is now a 40-year-old, dyed-haired, not chubby any more, clean (or so he says) father and an international pop star who can afford touring worldwide with a great band, great back-up vocalists, his father – who also sings-, and great dancers who can raise their legs to incredible heights. Special mention not to lighting (only) but to the mise en scène and the spectacular background and stage design, which with just a change of background became a monumental theatre, a sumptuous ship, the deck of this ship and NYC, among other settings.
Some people might say that there’s no much difference between watching this show live or on DVD, but I’m sure that the smiles and laughter Robbie drew in our faces wouldn’t have been so authentic if we hadn’t been in the same room.
Robbie, you might still be a hooligan at heart, but you certainly know what you are doing with your money, time and music to please your (perhaps more ‘mature’) fans. Congrats.