I always like when people get surprised by us. It surprises me actually to see that we have the capacity of surprising someone – and in a good way. Concerts like this one are good for the soul, of course – but they also reinstate the faith in us: we’re generous people and we are genuinely – yes, genuinely – able to make someone feel welcomed and loved. Because tens of thousands of people showed their love to Robbie Williams on Friday night and he definitely felt the good vibes coming from the audience all throughout the 2 hours spent on the stage facing the gigantic Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest.
Actually, everything about this show was gigantic: the crowd, the expectations, the emotions – even the queues to buy a cup of water; but the thing that impressed me the most, that particular thing that stayed with me at the end of the night, was Robbie’s verve and enthusiasm. The 41-year-old Briton seemed to have absolutely loved performing in Bucharest – not a single moment has been dull or wasted – and this feeling was almost palpable during the entire concert.
“My name is Robbie Fuckin’ Williams and for the next two hours your ass is mine!”
It was Robbie Williams’ first time in Romania – and, boy, did he feel welcomed! Seconds after opening the show with Let Me Entertain You and Rock DJ, he measured the crowd – thousands and thousands of heads and hearts waiting for his words – and hailed: “Bună seara, Bucureşti!”. The giant wave of emotions coming from the audience was jaw-dropping – and he said in complete amazement: “Fucking hell! I’m really famous here!” And then, as if it were necessary, “Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Robbie Fuckin’ Williams, this is my band, and for the next two hours your ass is mine!” And, let me tell you, truer words have never been spoken...
Well, this might also be a good moment to come clean about it: I was more of a Gary Barlow fan in the Take That years – as opposed to my good friend Ana, who loved Robbie ever since. That naughty, free-spirited Robbie, who sang his part in Back for Good wearing sun-glasses and an oversized fur coat; that Robbie, who seemed already the rebel of the band. Well, years have passed – and Robbie, whom I never felt was given a leading role into Take That, became a prima ballerina; and I totally forgot about Gary, embracing Robbie Williams’ solo career and completely surprising myself a couple of nights ago, when I realized I knew so many of the lyrics of his songs.
“I’m sorry this is the first time that I’ve been here… What the fuck?!”
The truth is that: more than 60.000 people gathered in Bucharest for his concert, mumbling, singing and screaming, so, yes, Robbie was astonished – he made this perfectly clear (and more than once) during the show. “Un-fuckin’-believable!”, he exclaimed when listening the crowd singing the lyrics of Come Undone. “I don’t know what to say… Jesus! So, I’m sorry this is the first time that I’ve been here… What the fuck?! Right? I didn’t know you guys knew me… I mean, I’m pretty famous in England, but… this is fucking ridiculous!” Ridiculous it was, indeed, to have Robbie Williams singing for the first time in Romania only in 2015 – but let’s all hope this moment of awakening will make him decide to return a.s.a.p. One thing is sure: we’re already waiting.
And in case you haven’t read it the first time, let me say it again: a burst of energy this concert was and Robbie himself, a natural-born entertainer. He flirted with the audience, and complimented us – he even told his story short, with loads of irony: “Hello, good evening, my name is Robbie Williams, I’m from England, I was born in 1974, I went to school, I left school, I joined a boy band, we sang «Could It Be Magic now, now...» Then I left the boy band and I got fat, and then I went to rehab and I left rehab and I got fat again – and then I went back to rehab and then I got fat again and then I got thin again – and then I wrote Angels and I became a global international superstar! That’s what fuckin’ happened!”
Taking the right decision on July 17th 1995
Listening to us singing his songs, Robbie Williams drew hearts in the air – and then asked his father to join him in performing Better Man; and this was clearly one of the highlights of the night; as it was singing Candy to a lady he’d spotted in the audience minutes before asking her to come on stage: “Hey, Lumy, I know your husband is here and it’s incredibly awkward, but I was asking if you would come to bed with me…” We smiled and envied Lumy, sang “Happy birthday” to George Michael, who recently turned 52, had goose bumps while listening to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and thoroughly enjoyed amazing songs like Feel, Millennium, She’s The One or The Road To Mandalay.
In the end, a beautiful coincidence: on July 17th 2015, as we all know, Robbie Williams rocked the stage in Bucharest; on the exact same date, but in 1995, the 21-year old wonder boy was announcing his departure from Take That. He was the first to go, announcing he was working on a solo album – and a year later, in 1996, the band dissolved itself.
I don’t know what you might think of that, but, to me, the fact that tens of thousands of people gathered in Constitution Square to see him – and only him – might very well say Robbie took the right decision 20 years ago; he parted ways with the band and, soon enough, he himself became a brand.