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Robbie Williams : Dublin Landsdowne Road

We take you through the ten best moments of one of the pop shows of the year...

Robbie Williams : Dublin Landsdowne Road

Robbie Williams kicked off his new tour in Dublin tonight. He was looking the best he's looked for years, and the show was one of his best in ages and ages.

Here are the ten best moments.







1: THE INVASION OF 'THE PIPER'!



Does Robbie

really really like audience participation? Does he think it's wicked? He loves it loves it

loves it! And so the greatest record of the past 27 years (ie DJ Pied Piper's

'Do You Really Like It?') turns up not once but TWICE! during tonight's

show in a supercool call-and-response style. Crowd goes mental, obviously.







2: THE HAIRCUT!



How do you respond when a no-hoping indie troupe start making the same kind of music as

you and look as if they're about to nick all your fans? Easy! You steal their haircut.

Actually hair-for-hair. Who'd ever have thought that Fran Travis

would be a style guru? But there is a long history of hair feuding between the two,

because of course if you cast your mind back a few years Robbie

had a mohican ages before Fran ever did (and they both looked bloody

awful), so maybe tonight's unveiling of the blonde bit is just Robbie

getting his own back. Who knows? Or, to be quite honest, cares? (Answer: Everyone.)







3: THE ALMOST WEEPING AND WORSHIP OF 'THE FANS'!



As anybody who has seen the worst video ever made (ie the video for 'Strong')

will already know, Robbie

may be laughing on the outside but inside, tears of a clown, always acted the joker at

school because he wanted attention, life was a mess, Kenneth Williams,

blah blah blah. However... When Robbie

finishes one song he announces in a shaky-voiced type way that tonight's crowd is

"the most beautiful sight I've ever fucking seen" and almost bursts into tears,

this isn't Robbie

being all "ooh look at me I'm unhappy really" - it's Robbie

being a real person! This is good because Robbie

has been an on-off fool for the past couple of years and now... He isn't. Towards the end,

he tells journalists in the audience not to write about him, but to write about the

audience, because they're what tonight's all about. Unfortunately if we actually did that

we would be sacked, put up against a wall and shot.







4: THE BIT WHERE HE BECOMES ROD STEWART!



When NME.COM went to see Rod Stewart in concert a couple

of years ago (it was good, thanks for asking, though we couldn't stay until the end

because it was a friend's birthday) he spent one song kicking footballs around the stage

and into the crowd. Things don't go quite as well for Robbie

tonight, who attempts with limited success to keep a ball in the air during 'Strong'

then gives up and kicks it into the crowd, only for it to be thrown back at him! He kicks

it off the stage again - it hits the lighting rig and bounces back at him. Combination of

song and football things: perhaps a reference to the futility and inner turmoil of drunk

old footballer George Best or, perhaps, not. In 'Strong',

"Take the pills to numb the pain" has now changed to "Take the

piss to numb the pain", the full significance of which we may never know.







5: THE MADONNA-BAITING!



Robbie

comes on stage and announces "Good evening, you bunch of knackers!" which is a

bit like Madonna's

"Fuck off, motherfuckers!" greeting. But things get a bit more direct when Rob

hollers "Madonna's

playing a gig tonight, y'know. Bet they're not having as much fun as us!" across the

stadium. (He is, should it need pointing out, quite right.) Then - THEN! - he adds, later

on, "I've also heard that Madonna

plays guitar". Before launching into a Liam Gallagher-meets-George

Formby rendition of 'Material Girl'. Does Robbie

really hate Madonna?

Does Madonna

really care? Why not tell us?







6: THE COVER VERSIONS!



Hey, it wouldn't be a Robbie

show without some comedy cover versions. The 'Back For Good' cover is the

same as ever (the "wash it up" 'ad-lib' is still there, obviously) but

the stops are pulled out for U2's

'Beautiful Day', World Party's 'She's The One'

(which is kind of cheating but still a cover), Limp

Bizkit's 'Rollin'' (what would Fred think?

Who cares!) and, inevitably, Queen's 'We Are The Champions'.

For the Queen song Robbie

has either found a mic stand belonging to a dwarf or got some of his gangster friends to

create a special 'sawn-off' mic stand. Either way he looks a bit like Freddie

Mercury, which is sort of the intention, presumably. (He also treats us to a

freestyle version of Wyclef's new single, 'Perfect Gentleman'.)







7: THE HIT:ALBUM TRACK RATIO!



Madonna: all show, 'a little thin on' (ie almost entirely devoid of)

hits. Robbie:

not actually much of an extravaganza at all compared with previous shows, but just

absolutely stuffed to the point where its bowels are about to explode with hits and tunes.

There are some great moments - the first bit when the screen drops to reveal the stage

with black leather-clad dancers parading around with iconic 'RW' flags is

rather nice, as is the storming rendition of 'No Regrets' (is this Robbie's

best tune? Probably) ending with the stage bursting into flames. But with these songs and

tonight's audience, Robbie

clearly doesn't see any need for flying around and jumping on mechanical bulls.







8: THE FORGETFULNESS!



Sat on Guy Chambers' piano, Robbie

manages to forget the words to 'She's The One'. Which is quite sweet.







9: THE RUBBISH SINGLE THAT TURNS OUT NOT TO BE RUBBISH!



Think 'Eternity' isn't much cop? Think again! Rolled out in all its live

glory the song becomes really, really ace, and everybody loves it and starts to cry. Even

the Divine

Comedic aa-side 'The Road To Mandalay', not one of Robbie's

greatest moments, appears in a bigger, spunked up version here tonight, which causes much

in the way of audience pandemonium.







10: THE PROBABLY HIGHLY POSTMODERN CLASH OF POPCULTURAL REFERENCE POINTS!



So he's doing 'Millennium', right, and you think "Hang on. There's Robbie

with a James Bond sample, dressed as Fred Durst," -

'cos he's about to do the 'Rollin'' cover - "with a bassist out of Destiny's

Child and dancers doing 'Charlie's Angels' poses. Has he

really thought this through?" And he probably hasn't. But not to worry because it is,

to be frank, quite wonderful.







So anyway, quite a good show.











Peter Robinson



popeditor@nme.com

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