He did entertain us

He did entertain us

Robbie Williams leaves 20,000 fans beaming.

By David Light

Published: Mon 27 Apr 2015, 8:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:26 PM

Cheeky, quirky, embracing, but above all entertaining – Robbie Williams delivered on all four counts of what you’d expect from one of the singer’s trademark concerts and did so in consummate style on Saturday evening.

 Taking to the du Arena stage, Yas Island, at around 9pm, the 20,000 strong crowd was already buzzing by the time those familiar opening chords of Let Me Entertain You were struck up, the atmosphere raising to a fever pitch the minute he appeared from behind the curtain.

 That recognisable swagger,  an excitable, almost kindly manic glare, new blond haircut and comedy devil horns, “for the next two hours your a**** are mine!” was all he needed to exclaim to address the audience. And they were. There are few showmen left who can lead vast numbers of guests on a journey encompassing classic, original and covered material, barmy antics and funny asides on such an awesome scale and still make the gig appear intimate. Williams’ charisma does just that though.

 Rock DJ followed the opening gambit, another classic. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this performer’s show is there is very little ego involved. Or perhaps there’s too much? Either way, while other acts may wish to force their more obscure or less-well-known newer work on spectators, Williams is content to give them what they actually desire – a night full of songs to sing and dance along to.

 Possibly the only new tune was an acoustic ballad written for his recently born son, Charlie, that while the subject may not be repeatable on these pages, was a triumph in its bizarre sentiment. Another touching moment was the appearance of Williams’ dad, fellow professional singer Peter, for a duet of Robbie’s 2001 hit Better Man

 For an inaugural Robbie Williams experience, Abu Dhabi was also treated to some marque sass. During a performance of The Road to Mandalay, the star encouraged everyone to vocally join in with the instrumental refrain. Williams was subsequently impressed by the number of “bummers” as he put it (those using the noise “bum” to denote each beat), there were in attendance.

  A quick costume change later – he put on a skirt – Williams was back to give a lucky ticket-holder a treat. Yasmine from the Philippines was chosen to help him perform Candy to the sound of 20,000 people cheering before being lead in a conga line with the band members back to her place at the foot of the stage.

 Other points of note were Williams’ like-for-like cover of the Lorde hit Royals, a barbershop version of R. Kelly’s Ignition and two Queen numbers We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody before rounding off the night with his piece de resistance, Angels. Simply brilliant. 

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