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Robbie Williams BRITs Icon Troxy 07/11/2016
Robbie becomes only the third person to receive the BRIT’s Icon award, to celebrate he put on a rare intimate gig for fans, featuring all the showmanship and effects of an arena show as well as a surprise appearance from old friends Take That.
Earlier in the year it was announced that the third person to receive the Brit’s Icon award would be pop sensation Robbie Williams, he would be following in the footsteps of British superstars David Bowie and Elton John, To mark the occasion he took to the tiny stage at the Troxy in London to perform to a lucky couple thousand fans as well as a few million who will be sure to tune in when it’s shown on ITV next month, To say the gig was highly anticipated would be a severe understatement with fans queuing outside the venue since as early as two days before!, arriving to the venue you were greeted by sleeping bags and duvets galore.
Usually when big superstars play small gigs it results in a stripped back affair, anyone who’s seen Robbie live before however knows that’s not just his style so the crowd were greeted with the full stadium experience with projectors displaying visuals over every wall, fireworks and confetti streamers were in full force, a full backing troupe of scantily clad dancers appeared during nearly every number and a massive boxing ring was placed in the middle of the room for his opening number, in other words… classic Robbie Williams.
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Opening with the title song of his new album ‘Heavy Entertainment Show’ Robbie enters the custom made boxing ring, singing and dancing through the ropes with his large ensemble of dancers marching from down either side of the theatre, it’s a big opening and a massive spectacle, a perfect match for the over the top lyrics featured in the song.
It’s swiftly followed by two of his biggest hits in ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and ‘Rock DJ’, being in my twenties it brought back some much welcomed nostalgia from my childhood, as he leapt across the stage with the crowd in the palm of his hand, unfortunately this led to a very early intermission as one of the stage lights broke leading to a 10 minute wait before he would eventually return
“Let me reintroduce myself Troxy!… my name is Robbie Fucking Williams and your arse is mine!” he exclaims as he bursts back onto the stage before going into a deep cut from his earlier days with “Monsoon” which devoted fans clearly loved before flowing into “Mixed Signals” from his new album, it’s written by The Killers and you can definitely see their influence in the tracks live performance.
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Robbie leads a mass crowd singalong with his older hits such as ‘Come Undone’, ‘Supreme’ and ‘Millennium’ with more noise coming from the audience it seems than Robbie at certain points, controversial single ‘Party Like A Russian’ goes down a treat with the crazy music video practically reenacted on stage with an assortment of Russian themed ballerina dancers.
Such a special occasion was bound to have a few special moments and the first came in the form of Robbie bringing onstage his dad Pete to sing “Better Man” from his third album, a clearly emotional Robbie seemed delighted to be sharing the moment with those closest to him, even his between song chats were dominated by adorable stories of the time spent with his beloved kids, fatherhood has definitely had a massive change on the former womaniser, a point not lost on him as he jokes during ‘Candy’ that he’s like “a diabetic in a sweet shop” surrounded by the gorgeous backing dancers.
We’re big fans of Lorde at Perfect Tempo and was both delighted and surprised to see a special shoutout to the young songstresses 20th birthday which coincided with the concert, an occasion honoured with a short cover of ‘Royals’.
Of course this is a career retrospective and I imagine most of you know how a young Robbie first started his career as then part of Take That and it wouldn’t have been complete without an appearance from the boys, It’s been just over 5 years since Robbie performed with them but tonight marked a long awaited and rare one off performance, the crowd easily reached their fever pitch of the night when Robbie introduced his friends during ‘The Flood’, it was clear to see from Gary Barlow’s massive grin and the hugs from all the boys that any early animosity from years ago has all but vanished.
That wasn’t to be the only Take That song however as the group burst into early hit ‘Back For Good’ including a rock styled outro which saw the boys bouncing and shouting along, it was a shame Jason didn’t make an appearance but it seems he has fully left the group for the time being.
It’s no secret that Robbie’s a big fan of classic swing hits, releasing two whole albums of them throughout his career, tonight’s selection was the classic ‘New York, New York!’ with slightly altered lyrics, after a plea from a Robbie he cheekily changed the chorus to chants of “Robbie, Robbie” and after just witnessing a mini Take That reunion the crowd were more than happy to oblige.
Classics such as a grand laser filled performance of ‘Feel’ followed as well as a throwback to his Kylie duet with “Kids” before bursting into his latest single, the ballad “Love My Life” which despite what the lyrics might have you believe is not one giant boast, but a touching tribute to his two children.
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Take That returned to the stage to hand out Robbie’s icon award, a emphatic tribute from the boys was followed by a typical tongue in cheek speech by Robbie, despite his sense of humour it’s clear to see just how delighted and honoured he is by his achievement, officially the Brit’s most decorated artist with now a total of 18 awards. The show was then brought to an end by his true classic single ‘Angels’ before future single ‘Sensational’’
Robbie Williams may not be everyone’s cup of tea but what cannot be denied is that he is a true showman in every sense of the word, constant use of live vocals, full backing dancers and a joyful sense of wonder that encapsulates any crowd member regardless of age or gender proves that he is more than deserving of a British Icon award.
Setlist: (Thanks to The Troxy for providing this!)