It’s always very interesting seeing a music act strip down their songs, and perform acoustically, but doing the opposite can be quite a thing to behold as well. This years Electric Proms saw Robbie Williams take to the stage, with a full complement of singers, and musicians, which included the legendary Trevor Horn. Unfortunately I wasn’t there, but thanks to the wonders of BBCi Player, I am able to bring you my review of his performance.
After a somewhat over excited, overdone, yet at the same time somehow tentative performance on X Factor, I didn’t really know what to expect from this show, but I think it’s safe to say that he’s really and truly back, and on fine form. There was of course the usual posing, strutting, and between song banter, masking any insecurities, but although slightly annoying at times, it’s always overshadowed by the music.
Robbie began with his new single ‘Bodies’, a fusion of rapped verses, and trademark soaring choruses. Although I’m not as keen on the rap parts of the song, the pulsing electro beats layered under it, and the laser lighting did immediately create an atmosphere. His next song was another new one, and what a song it was. Titled ‘Starstruck’, it seemed to get the Camden crowd dancing, and had a lovely chilled out vibe to it. I enjoyed the harmonies and lyrical content here, and the chance to reminisce when ‘Starstruck’ was swiftly followed by one of his classic hits, ‘Feel’. Next up was another new track, the randomly titled ‘Deceptacon’, a song that begins with the lyrics ‘microwave yourself today’. The instrumentation on this track was quite subtle, and the song did have a beauty that was quite moving, but well, I just don’t get it! Luckily the blank look cleared as I watched Robbie storm through his hit ‘No Regrets’, the song about his time in Take That. This was preceded by the confirmation that they are now all mates (cue more reunion rumours perhaps?!). If you’re looking for passion and emotion in a song, then look no further than Robbie’s performance of this track! It was an awesome moment, which led smoothly into string laden coolness that is ‘Millenium’. Right on cue, members of the orchestra started grooving along, before it was the audiences turn to get involved. Sing-along to ‘Angels’ anyone? What can I say, other than this song sounds even more amazing (if that’s possible) backed as it was by a superb group of musicians. This seemed like quite a high note to end a gig on, but Robbie had one more trick up his sleeve, and that was a truly rousing rendition of ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’.
What a great start to this years Electric Proms. The musicians really brought alive the well crafted melodies in all of Robbie’s songs, there was great interaction with the backing vocalists, and the overall result was just a lot of fun to watch. Catch this, and all the other Electric Proms gigs on BBCi Player while you can! Or visit www.bbc.co.uk/electricproms for more information.