Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Monday September 22, 2014
Robbie Williams arrives in style, in a large puff of smoke. Opening the show with his hit ‘Shine my Shoes’ from the album Swings Both Ways, a large purple curtain hides what is to come. Performing in Brisbane for the first time since 2006, Williams is here to promote his new album Swings Both Ways at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to a sell out crowd.
Dressed in stylish tails, Williams declares “Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Robert Peter Williams and Brisbane for the next two hours -your a** is mine!“. The curtain lifts to reveal a large saloon style set that could have come from the set of Boardwalk Empire. Dancers in flapper dresses line the stage and from the on set Williams is here to entertain us.
With a great deal of sass, humour, some flirting with the crowd and just a little camp thrown in, Williams delivers his two act show of big-band classics, ‘High Hopes’, ‘Mr Bogangles’, ‘My Way’, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ and ‘Shout’, with a few of his own songs thrown in. He invites a barber shop quintet on stage for an a cappella rendition of R-Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ for a bit of fun.
Williams is the quintessential showman tonight and if fans are expecting a back-catalogue of hits, then this show certainly does not provide that. For a few older tracks such as ‘Supreme’ and ‘Come Undone’, he slows them down and gives them a jazz feel, but generally he sticks to Sinatra, Presley, Martin and the big names. His comedy and wit prove that no matter what Williams sings, he delivers and he delivers well. For his rendition of ‘That’s Amore’, he invites a fan on stage to be his show-biz wife and performs a mock-wedding, priest and all.
The second act changes things up a bit as Williams enters the stage dressed as a Captain with a full Cruise Ship behind him. He never waivers in his energy and the second act is just as energetic as the first. Dancers dresses in Nautical costumes looking like pin ups adorn the stage for each number.
Inviting father Peter Williams on stage for Duke Ellington’s ‘Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me’, the singer is clearly proud of his former nightclub singer Dad as the two hug on stage numerous times. “That’s his Papa“, he’s proud to tell us all and it is a touching moment between father and son. His self penned ‘Go Gentle’ for daughter Theodora is equally as touching.
Just before finishing the show with his hit ‘Angels’, Robbie Williams notices a few people leaving. He calls out to them. “Oi, where are you going – I haven’t sung ‘Angels’ yet – sit back down“, he commands them, pointing the camera to a rather embarrassed couple. He launches into ‘Angels’ and for the most part the crowd sing for him; iPhone torches replacing lighters as the crowd sway to the music of this classic hit.
For an evening Robbie Williams proves that no matter what he sings he is an entertainer, hands down. He is funny, engaging and just a little cheeky. He can command an audience and light up the stage proving that he really is one of the greatest showmen in the business.
Reviewer: Amanda Starkey