WILLIAMS’ REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

The star joins a host of names paying tribute to the late Ian Dury...

Robbie Williams played his first live show of 2000 last night (June 16) at a concert paying tribute to the late Ian Dury.

The star joined a host of Dury‘s friends and contemporaries, including Madness, Mick Jones and Topper Headon from The Clash and comedians Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr, at London’s Brixton Academy covering the songs of Dury and raising money for Cancer Bacup, a charity for which Dury was a leading spokesperson. #50,000 was raised.

Williams joined Dury‘s band The Blockheads for the final two songs, covers of ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’ and a rousing ‘Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

Dressed in dark denim and wearing a white scarf, the former Take That star, looking a little like Elvis during his legendary 1968 televised comeback special, received the evening’s loudest reception.

There was no mention of his new album, scheduled for release in the autumn. Instead all the attention was focused on Dury, who died in March after a long battle with cancer.

Two simple black and white photos of Dury, in typical ‘geezer’ pose, were projected on the side of the stage.

Williams, who became a friend of Dury – the man dubbed Godfather of punk – following charity work they undertook together, led the audience in a chant of ‘Ian’ between songs.

Other notable moments of the show included actress Kathy Burke romping through ‘Billericay Dickie’, Phill Jupitus with his take on ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ and Mark Lamarr stage-diving into the audience during ‘Blockheads’. The comedian misjudged his leap and fell heavily onto the crowd barrier. He limped awkwardly offstage when he finished his number.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Of State Mo Mowlam, herself a cancer sufferer, was in the audience. Dr Mowlam told nme.com she was glad Dury was remembered in such fashion and added: “I’m pleased that this is happening. I’m pleased that Madness and Robbie have turned up to support Cancer Bacup.”