Robbie Williams ‘.\ly show's a fucking panto » if I was searching for credibility I wouldn‘t do what I'm doing. I'm Robbie Williams. not Kraftwerk.‘
['2 may haye had that stupid big lctnon thing. but with a wink and a flash of his cheeky smile. stadium rock was reclaimed by Robbie Williams and the pop kids with a fervour not seen since the stage t‘tish during .\'ik Kershaw at live .-\id. He has crossover appeal after all: girls want to shag hitn. boys want to be him and mums . . . well mums probably just wanted to shag him too. Williams redrew the battle lines in the stadiums. positioning himself as an old fashioned ‘entertainer'.
Whether knocking 'cm out in a kill (best for saucy handstands) or
slick three-piece sttit. throwing down thrashed re-cuts of Take That's ‘liack for Good or inducing all tnatmer of w'eak-kneed trembling in women with arguably one of the most lighterworthy songs ever in ‘.-\ngels‘. the charismatic Williams added self-referential humour to Bon .lovi bombast and injected a new twist to the stadium pop potion.
But things have gone off the boil for Williams recently. This is not
but due to his seeming inabilit} to break America — an oversized
motorised toilet shown off dttring his 2000 tour might have signalled that his indulgcnces might have finally caught up with him.
His dalliances as the new l-‘rank Sinatra tyeah. right) and the new Freddie Mercury the ends his shows as Queen did. with ‘We are the (‘hampions't have done him no real favours eithe. He's gone from entertainer to entertaining himself. His appeal remains unerringly strong. however — these dates sold out in a matter of moments ~- but here's hoping he's not just relying in his charms to get by.
For Mum's sake any way.
I Robbie Nil/rams p/uys .llurmytic/t/ Slut/mm. Edinburgh. Sat 38 ck“ Sun 291ml.
If Deep Purple were just hair-bear musos who happened to get lucky. and if Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams are the embodiment of sex appeal and entertainment for their decades. then how did the homophobic. sexist. hateful bile of liminem come to fill stadiums‘.’
What liminem does is take the excess and showmanship of all the previous decades and roll it into one mammoth two-hour eye and ear-candy overdose. ‘l)o what I say". 'Smoke Weed'. ‘Take Pills‘ 'Overdose‘. 'Slap Bitches‘. No, not lke Turner's things-to-do list. btit the slogans emblazoned across the video screens during liminem’s Anger Management tour.
But this is a dose laced with arsenic rather than sugar. a million miles frotn Williams’ homely sauce. Bon Jovi's bare-chested hedonism or Deep Pumle‘s wig-outs. The world's biggest rap artist is a professional antisocialist who specialises in cathartic release. something. it seetns. that has universal appeal.
With chainsaw and hockey mask to hand. Eminent has put the theatrical spirit back into big gigs. Without a live band to fill the stage. a giant Ferris wheel takes centre stage in a fun fair replete with gothic dungeons. And in place of the waltzers and dodgems. there‘s an inﬂatable evil magic mushroom and an electric chair. He even pays backhanded tribute to his musical (if not spiritual) forefathers the Beastie Boys. with a giant inflatable penis not unlike the one brandished by the trio on their now infamous Licensed to Ill world tour. a road trip which finally changed the negative perceptions of live hip hop.
Whoever you go to see this month. some stadium traditions are likely to remain unchanged: there will undoubtedly be a raft of support acts you won‘t really want to watch while waiting for the main attraction. shirtless girls will be projected onto huge video screens. and some poor guy who hit the cans a little too early will be quietly sleeping his way through the headline act. And there'll be some big and maybe even beautiful music too.
I Eminent plays Hum/idem Stadium. Glasgow. Tue 24 Jun.
1 au'r- 2 a . 22-7: THE LIST 25