So last week we got the train (and squealed all the way) down to Southend to see Mr Robbie Williams play the fourth of his warm up gigs before the brand new album. I have to admit having adored Take That and the first two Robbie albums but I had dropped off the Williams radar a bit. Turns out so had Robbie, he’s since said sorry about those last couple of albums and at the gig he did admit he’d dropped the ball with Rudebox. So powered by Dairy Milk and complete overexcitement we arrived at The Cliffs Pavillion ready to meet a superstar.
It was 4 o’clock and already Robbie fans (Williamites?!) were queuing round the block. One girl had come over from Spain, another had been there since 10am the morning before and one lady had a huge Robbie tattoo down one arm. Hardcore.
We went in and were we told Robbie was on his way (more squealing) and we had 10 minutes with him (which is about the same amount of time to recover from him sitting infront of you) and in he came. Lovely Robbie with a glint in his eye, his joggers on and looking absolutely stacked. Honestly he was huge, in the best possible way.
Have a listen to the interview - which will be a lot better than me rambling on about it here - but I asked him about becoming a daddy (he can’t wait), his brand new album (him and Gary couldn’t stop giggling in the studio) and of course Take That (he’d like to play with them again. We must make this happen.) He’s very intense and looks you in the eye the whole way through so (highly unprofessionally) I went quite melty and girly. And so after 10 glorious minutes that was it, we had a photo, with a smile from me you could see from space, and he was off.
When we went outside after the interview fans were queuing most of the way down the south coast, all more than happy to camp out to see their man. The gig opened and all of them ran to the front of the tiny venue. Hours later, Robbie came on in a black tshirt and braces launching straight into Let Me Entertain You. It’s an obvious thing to say but you really do forget how many excellent songs he’s had. He did loads of stuff from Life Through A Lens (Old Before I Die was a highlight) and Karma Killer was for Nigel Martin-Smith who created Take That, Robbie doesn’t like him AT ALL.
By his own admission, Robbie is a chocoholic so halfway through someone threw a bag of Revels on stage for him. Lots of other presents came on stage including a dancing dad doll with Robbie’s face (“Just what I’ve always wanted! I suppose all my dancing from now on will be dad dancing”), lots more chocolate and Robbie’s favourite, an Ali Bar-Bar style turban. Some girls had a huge banner saying “I just want to feel YOUR BUM” he obliged and revealed it to the crowd, saying he’d just had it waxed
Eternity was a highlight - he explained it really was about Geri Halliwell and after a very rousing Rock DJ he went off, to return 2 minutes later saying “We can’t go yet, we haven’t done Angels yet!” Angels was gorgeous, a giant mirror ball twirled round and Robbie dedicated it to a lady in the audience who had messaged him saying would he play it for her son Matthew. It was a really amazing ending to the night.
Outside afterwards, everyone couldn’t wait to tell us how amazing it had been. Angels was talked about lots and quite a few ladies said they’d been there the first time he’d played the same venue on his very first solo tour ever. It was definitely agreed Robbie was sexier now than ever before.
If you went off Robbie with all the UFO, Rudebox stuff, don’t worry, so did he, but my gosh, he’s back.
Listen to Sarah Powell – weekdays from 12pm on heat radio. Available on Freeview 714, Digital Radio and online at heatworld.com