It had dancing apes, sailors and even a fake showbiz marriage involving one lucky lady from the crowd.
Robbie Williams certainly knows how to put on a show and had the crowd swinging when he performed at Birmingham’s LG Arena.
Emerging on to the stage through a trapdoor, dressed smartly in a suit, he was immediately met with cheers and screams from adoring fans before opening with Shine My Shoes – the first track on his new album Swings Both Ways.
The tour, which has the same name, has already visited parts of Europe and the UK and will travel to Australia in September.
A curtain lifted to reveal dancers in top hats and canes for the second song of the night, Puttin’ On the Ritz, and the audience were more than willing to participate when the singer said: “Birmingham, show me your jazz hands.”
He didn’t take himself too seriously throughout the show and wore an ape costume while singing I Wanna Be Like You. At one point he pulled a delighted woman from Northampton, called Varsha, up on stage.
After making fun of himself breaking a fan’s arm at a previous gig, he asked her to be his ‘showbiz wife’ before a fake ceremony was staged. He also found himself in the crowd after a group of punters held up signs requesting a ‘meet and greet’ and he sang happy birthday to another delighted fan.
The song Shout got almost everyone up on their feet, clapping and singing, as did New York, New York, My Way and, of course, Angels.
Despite saying he had been feeling ill with flu – and definitely not ‘man flu’ as he stressed – you would never have guessed by the spectacular performance he put on. As well as singing alongside a big band, his father also made an appearance and the 40-year-old Stoke-on-Trent-born singer found time to talk to fans about his daughter and baby on the way.
Emma Penko, aged 33, of Wollescote, Stourbridge, was at the weekend gig with her 12-year-old daughter Georgia, mother Diane Flower, 55, and sister-in-law Lisa Yates, 33. The mother-of-two said: “I’m a major Robbie fan. I’ve been to see him lots of times, including in Paris. I’ve been a fan since the early years of Take That. He’s charismatic and a proper entertainer.”
Friends Jane Holden, 42, of Kingswinford, and Ann Plant, of Netherton, came to the show dressed in Robbie T-shirts. Miss Holden said: “I went to see him last year too in Manchester.
“He’s a great entertainer. I love when he sings Angels.”
by Lisa O’Brien