Saturday, October 31
The whole chav-made-good, I’m grinning-so-I-must-be-winning shtick is tiresome – and it must be tiring. The fact that he can barely aim anywhere near a high note let alone hit one is insulting. But he’s cheeky and so we love him. He wished us well in the World Cup, he sang a snippet of Lorde’s Royals, he asked us, more than once, if he was still our son. But we found out whose son he is because he brought his dad out on stage to sing Betterman with him. Take That! Robbie Williams returns to Wellington, a decade and a half after his record-breaking Westpac stadium show.
I’d break a Robbie Williams record given the chance but he was out of the gates and threatening, from the get-go, to entertain us. Rock DJ still has all the sound and feel of Drunk Uncle at a 21st, something called Me & My Monkey (from 2002’s Escapology) deserves a prize for The Worst Song in The World. But never mind that, he kept flirting with the ladies in the front rows and showed just how far you can take Karaoke if you’ve got the cheekbones.
After the hits were drizzled out and it started to feel like a crawl to the 90-minute mark, Robbie returned to start the encore section with an earnest attempt at Bohemian Rhapsody. He had the four voices of Queen assisting – until Freddie Mercury’s lead part, where Robbie subbed himself in to ransack the tune. That he had the audacity to call this is a tribute is, well, that is the puckish charm of this ham-fisted hack. Watching his thin sketch of a voice being plastered over the original was a bit like seeing an upturned smile drawn onto the mouth of the Mona Lisa. With crayons.
There was no nuance and none required. Apparently. So many of the big songs (Millennium, She’s The One, Feel) were awful, as bad as being caught with the least flattering photos of yourself. But we love looking at those photos when Robbie’s holding them. And hey, he wished us well in the World Cup, even teased the Aussies.
A real treat having a concert at the Basin Reserve – makes a good venue. Next time they might even invite a real musician now the circus has, fingers crossed, left town.
This review first appeared in The Dominion Post and online at Stuff here