Singer unveils new material at first live show in three years
Introducing ‘No Regrets’ as “a song about the band I used to be in”, Williams described his reconciliation with the group during the gig – his first in three years.
“I’ve got a new best mate and his name’s Gary Barlow,” he said. He also changed the final lyric of the song to “I guess the love we have is officially alive”, as opposed to “dead”.
The set-list was dominated by tracks from Williams‘ forthcoming new album ‘Reality Killed The Video Star’. Descending a lit-up staircase through an orchestral backing band of 38 musicians – including string and brass sections, a harpist, an opera singer, two drummers and two percussionists, all directed by album producer Trevor Horn – Williams opened with recent single ‘Bodies’. For footage from the gig click on the link below.
Clearly emotional, he told the crowd, “You nearly made me cry then, but then I realised it’s not The X Factor, is it?” He later asked, “You been watching The X Factor? Go the twins!” The shout-out was met by playful boos from the crowd.
Another new track, ‘Morning Sun’, a string-swept ballad with a Beatles-y feel, followed. At one point Williams noted, “No-one’s singing along down the front, and that means the record hasn’t leaked. Ha!”
Other new tracks unveiled included ‘Blasphemy’, the last song Williams wrote with former songwriting partner Guy Chambers, upbeat George Michael-esque dance track ‘Starstruck’, a love song written for his girlfriend called ‘Won’t Do That’, and soul-tinged next single ‘You Know Me’.
Notably absent from the set-list were old hits ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and ‘Rock DJ’, although ‘Angels’ and an impassioned ‘Feel’ drew strong reactions from the crowd.
Williams closed with a cover of ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, the 1979 one-hit wonder by Horn‘s former band Buggles, that his new album title references.
Robbie Williams played:
‘I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen’
‘Won’t Do That’
‘You Know Me’
‘Video Killed The Radio Star’