Hell is gone and Robbie’s here there’s nothing left for you to fear,
Shake your arse, come over here, now SCREAM!!!
The surrounds of AAMI Park were awash with people, food & merch stands, glitter, and more people, and I excitedly approached the stadium because tonight I had a date. A date with a man that I have loved for a very long time and who doesn’t actually know that I exist. But a date, nevertheless. Enter: Mr Robbie Williams.
It was an expected older crowd who were flooding through the gates and jostling for position to catch a glimpse of the global megastar. Whether you’re a fan or not his music is undeniably catchy, and you will always find yourself at least humming along to his familiar tunes. My partner in crime for the evening is a dear friend who loves Robbie as much as me. I dare say there would be bloodshed between us if one of us had’ve nabbed Robbie for ourselves. We found our seats promptly and despite Robbie not gracing the stage for another 2 hours, the excitement was pulsating within me already.
The first support act for the evening were Lufthaus, an electronic dance duet who originate from Melbourne. They’ve spent a lot of time overseas building their following, and interestingly enough have actually collaborated with Robbie on a number of tracks. They got everyone in the mood with their continuous electro tracks, and they let everyone know how pleased they were to be playing to a home crowd for the first time.
Next on the bill was British singer and former Supergrass frontman, Gaz Coombes. His music is a mix of pop and rock, and people seemed to be really digging it. Gaz and his band were energetic and rocked the stage for their entire set, right up until they exited the stage. It was interesting to note the contrast in the 2 support acts, which no doubt ensured everyone’s music tastes were met.
As the sun dissipated and dusk was upon us, my heart was bursting and the butterflies were in full force causing havoc in my stomach. I knew the arrival of the great man was imminent, and that he was nearby and ready to blow the stadium away. The remaining lights went down, there was movement on the stage and the crowd started to get riled up. We were met with the introduction of Hey Yeah Wow Wow, and as the 3 cubes that doubled as screens started to rise from the stage, There. He. Was. Donning a black sequin suit, accessorised with a white Elvis-style scarf, there was the legend we had all been waiting for. The song was over in no time, and it was then that the instantly recognisable piano riff of Let Me Entertain You began, as Robbie marched down the catwalk stage that led out into the middle of the general admission area. Robbie piped up during the song with “Let me reintroduce myself, I’m Robbie Fucking Williams”. The crowd were completely beside themselves by this point, dancing and singing along to every word. This was my 3rd time seeing the British superstar, and despite being nearly 20 years since our last date, hot fucking damn this man has not lost a thing.
The next song he led into was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances, which is a party starter at the best of times. There was more audience participation, and at one point Robbie had a little sit down because as he put it, “I’m fucking nackered, I’m nearly 50!” Robbie told us he was going to take us on journey, on a 33-year musical odyssey of his career. The way in which he did this was hilarious and heartfelt with a great dose of nostalgia. Robbie checked in and asked his crowd, “Am I amongst friends, Melbourne? Am I in a safe space to share with you?” The crowd went ballistic in support because yes Robbie, we are here for you ALWAYS.
Next up was one of his early hits Strong, in which he jumped down into the crowd to get up close and personal with his fans. It was hilarious watching this unfold on the big screen as there were a sea of female hands grabbing and groping him from every angle. Come Undone followed, and during it’s musical intro he incorporated a bit of JPY’s Love Is In The Air. This is one of my most favourite Robbie songs, and I was belting it out as loud as I could, along with the rest of my fellow concert goers.
It was then Robbie wanted to take us on a trip back to 1990. On this trip he told us the Berlin Wall hadn’t long come down, Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, a young Australian cricketer was preparing to make his debut (this little tribute sent the crowd wild – R.I.P Warnie), and most importantly in that year a little boy band was formed called, Take That. There were a lot of Take That fans in the audience, and when we were treated with the music video to the band’s song Do What You Like, in which we were exposed to a close up image of 16-year-old Robbie’s arse in the clip, the crowd were THIRSTY. He then went on to play their song Could It Be Magic, in which he bailed on halfway through as he exclaimed “Na, I can’t be arsed!” He then shared a little anecdote of that era, when he went to Glastonbury with a bag full of drugs and champagne and hung out with 2 brothers from a popular UK rock band at the time. This was of course a segway into a cover of the Oasis classic, Don’t Look Back in Anger. Robbie took on the iconic Gallagher stance at the mic as he sung the song and at this point, I wasn’t sure that life could get any better than that moment.
The Take That fans then got what they wanted with a version of Back For Good. Robbie went on to tell us that despite all the struggles he’s had to endure with his career, life, mental & physical health etc, that now he is actually the happiest he has ever been. If you’re someone who has followed his career both on and off the stage, then you know that this is a huge deal. This led into his song I Love My Life. Better Man followed and the audience took it upon themselves to provide backing vocals once again, and I found this song and its lyrics hitting me differently than they had ever done previously.
The upbeat track Candy followed, before a moody and atmospheric performance of Feel with an intricate light show that perfectly set the vibe. After watching Robbie’s new Netflix documentary (which I highly recommend by the way), I realised during the show that songs like Feel, Better Man & Come Undone and their lyrics certainly hit a lot differently than they did previously. The lyrics are obviously raw and confronting and despite following his career for a long time, the doco really was an eye opener into his mental state over the years and the struggles he’s encountered, putting everything into a different light.
It was time to pick the pace up again, as the intro to Kids started to play out. I did turn to my friend and say, “oh my god I wonder if Kylie is in town??” Sadly she wasn’t, so Robbie’s talented back up vocalists rotated the female vocal part of the smash hit. Robbie then ‘had a proper giggle and was quite polite’ as he then led into Rock DJ, in which the crowd were well and truly going off by now. Just to clarify, the crowd were psyched for the show’s entirety, but there were just some songs that amped them up even more. Robbie then departed the stage to indicate the end of the show, however of course he was just playing with us because there would’ve been a riot had there not been an encore.
The stage lights went up again and the music started. It was now time for everyone to stand for the national anthem, as the intro to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice played out. The 3 cubes at the back of the stage rose again, revealing Robbie wearing an Australian Cricket Team t-shirt. John Farnham in all his mulletted glory appeared on a screen behind Robbie singing along, and it wasn’t until Robbie pointedly turned around to show us, that we realised the back of his shirt was emblazoned with WARNE 23 on the back. Cue goosebumps, tears & and an overwhelming response from the crowd for this lovely tribute to an Australian legend. Robbie then singled out a lady in the front row to dedicate She’s The One to. In a hilarious interaction, there was another woman standing there who was so overwhelmed with emotion and was trying to get in on the action too. Robbie’s cheeky banter with them both made it extra entertaining, and I truly envied the woman in which the song was dedicated to.
To top off the night Robbie rounded out the set with his usual finale of Angels. This time he dedicated it to the lady who tragically passed away after having an accident at one of Robbie’s Sydney shows. Once again it was a touching moment, and with a sea of phone lights before him (gone are the days of the old lighters swaying in the crowd), it was a magical sight to behold and be a part of. Robbie and the band then took their bows to exit the stage, but it seemed Robbie was just having too much fun to leave. Long after the band had departed, he hung around singing the start of a few of his songs acapella and then encouraged the crowd to finish it. He of course had to get one last cheeky quip in, and asked who in the audience were Carlton supporters. You can imagine the response that got with a lot more boos than cheers, and Robbie found it hysterically funny and said, “I love asking that, that is fucking hilarious”. He then started singing the first few bars of Better Man in which the crowd continued as Robbie then snuck off stage and into his waiting van side of stage to whisk him away.
“I just wanna Feel, real love” … and Robbie, real love is what you gave us. Robbie’s charisma alone is a show in itself, and his extended interactions with the crowd throughout the night were nothing short of entertaining & hilarious. He also has the uncanny ability to stare straight down the barrel of a camera, and have you believe he is looking and singing directly to you and you only, which is how I felt every time I watched the big screens. I may be bias, but you really can’t dispute the fact that he is a brilliant showman and knows exactly how to get the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. I truly didn’t want the night to ever end, and I was a mix of elation and sadness leaving the stadium with my raspy throat from singing and screaming, and my sore cheeks from the permanent smile that was plastered to my face for the night. The first song to play in the background after the show was finished was Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing, and the audience were singing along with it even after they’d departed the stadium. Once outside the stadium I could still hear the crowd singing it and thought it was quite poignant, given that each of us really did have the time of our life that night.
If you’ve never seen Robbie Williams live then he definitely needs to be added to your bucket list, as he is one singer even the most minor of fans need to see at least once in their lifetime. We love you Robbie, Australia loves you, and I hope you come back to our shores sooner rather than later!!