And he also introduces the Dublin crowd to his new haircut and hits out at Madonna...

A tearful ROBBIE WILLIAMS began his UK and Ireland tour in DUBLIN last night (July 6) with a new haircut, attacks on MADONNA, and cover versions of songs by QUEEN, LIMP BIZKIT and U2.

The star’s record-breaking sell-out show at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road in front of over 50,000 fans, began with an orange boiler-suited stuntman abseiling onto the stage and unlocking an enormous padlock, revealing a surprisingly un-elaborate stage and Robbie’s leather-clad female dancers parading around with ‘RW’ flags.

Arriving onstage in a black suit, Robbie revealed a new bleached Mohican-style hairdo – almost identical to Fran Healy’s current cut.

He continued the show with call-and-response renditions of DJ Pied Piper’s ‘Do You Really Like It?’, Irish jigs, a segued cover of Limp Bizkit?s ‘Rollin” and a version of U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ dedicated to “the best fucking rock and roll band in the world”. After the U2 song, an emotional Williams choked back tears and declared that his Irish audience was “the most beautiful sight I’ve ever fucking seen”.

But the most controversial aspect of this first night was Robbie’s attention to Madonna’s current ‘Drowned World’ tour. While the echo of Madge’s “Fuck you, motherfuckers” greeting may only vaguely have been echoed in Robbie’s “Good evening, you bunch of knackers”, other references were more direct. At one point he stopped the show and announced “There’s a Madonna gig tonight, y’know”, before screaming, “Bet they’re not having as much fun as us!” across the stadium. Later in the show he appeared on stage with an acoustic guitar. “I’ve also heard that Madonna plays guitar,” he announced, before launching into a version of ‘Like A Virgin’ in the style of Liam Gallagher.

Robbie’s final encore was ‘We Are The Champions’, the Queen cover featuring in movie ‘A Knight’s Tale’. After saying to the audience “may the force be with you”, Robbie left the stage to the theme from ‘Star Wars’. He is set to play once again at Lansdowne Road tonight (July 7).