Entering the Etihad Arena via a zip wire with red smoke billowing from his backside, Robbie Williams is never one to be inconspicuous. Starting with Let Me Entertain You, the scene was set for an evening of camp, charm and, as the song suggests, entertainment.
Dressed in a range of sequin-clad jackets and resembling a bingo caller, Robbie took the 58,000 stong crowd on a journey through his extensive back catalogue. One lucky fan, Maria from Spain, was selected from the crowd to be serenaded by Robbie singing one of his hits with Take That, Everything Changes. With props surely taking their inspiration from the stage version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, this was the first (and probably only) time you’re likely to see a puppet show as part of a pop concert!
Robbie has a great rapport with the crowd and, after revealing that he reads his fan forum, played some songs for the die-hard fans; Hot Fudge and, in particular, Me and My Monkey, were a welcome addition to the set.
Robbie is, perhaps, at his best when performing hands-aloft tracks. Be it the more upbeat Rock DJ or the anthemic Angels or Feel, this is what the crowd came to hear and – judging by Robbie’s performance – what he came to play.
Some of the songs don’t work in the set –Rudebox in particular does not appear to be a fan favourite.
A great night out with the added bonus of Olly Murs taking on the role of Kylie Minogue during Kids, it is safe to say that although Murs is described by Robbie as his ‘successor,’ the man from Stoke will be around for a while longer yet.