Usually, I don’t report on concerts when I can’t deliver good images to go with the words and, for some reason, my originally granted photo accreditation was withdrawn by Robbie’s Management. I was though able to take a couple of pictures on my cellphone, so a few pictures is excuse enough to merit a few words to accompany them.
The steel necklace around Robbie Williams’s neck said ‘F*ck Off’ and truly the man doesn’t have the need to take any nonsense from anyone. He just came from a Munich concert playing to 120,000 fans, the 48 year-old from Stoke has consistently sold out massive arena concerts for decades, and has a super band, singers and dancers to prove he knows how to deliver a top-notch live Rock show.
‘Let Me Entertain You’ is a staple from his live set, and also a mantra for his appearances. Williams manages to connect with the 25,000 people inside and the several thousand outside of the Hofgarten with consummate erase. “My name is Robbie Williams, and this is my fuckin’ band!” he announces early in the evening as if we might have any doubts.
For the next 90+ minutes Robbie (and his ‘fuckin’ Band’) delivered a powerhouse set. Hits including my favourite ‘Feel’, seemed all to come very much from his heart, with a voice that was always confidently tone perfect. If you managed to get a glimpse of Robbie’s right arm you will have spotted a distinctive lion tattoo. Follow that down his arm and you will also find a small silhouette of British comic legends Morecambe & Wise. Williams then also clearly appreciates a bit of light-heartedness. This came tonight in a schmalzy version of ‘Somethin’ Stupid’ for Anna from the audience who shared a sofa with Robbie for an intimate few moments to remember on her birthday (well as intimate as is possible in front of 25,000 people that is).
What, I wonder, would Beethoven have made of such a showman celebrating his 250th Birthday? Certainly, this was an evening that holds up a benchmark for live open-air concerts in Bonn in many ways. Why can’t they all be this loud again (they used to be this loud I remember!). Why can’t we have this space available every year and bring back big stars to Bonn again? Will we have to wait another ten years for another Beethoven Anniversary to get concert permission?
Thanks, Telekom for backing these concerts Thanks especially, Ernst-Ludwig Hartz for bringing Fanta Vier, Deichkind, Kraftwerk and Robbie Williams here – and putting Bonn really BACK on the musical map!
FOOTNOTE: Thank you to all the security personnel at the venue. We met two who had been on-site since 8 am and were not due to finish until after midnight. I’m sure they were not alone in that. Everything was well organized and everyone friendly. Well done all of you, and thanks for your efforts (must be Hell to do so much work and not be able to even have a view of the stage for many of them!)