REVIEW: Robbie Williams XXV Tour | OVO Hydro, Glasgow
"I set off with a boot full of champagne and a pocket full of cocaine, ready to get insane and I went to Glastonbury to begin what I didn’t know was to be the start of my new life!"
It has been 25 years since Robbie Williams left Take That and embarked on his solo career. A career that resulted in him becoming the solo artist with the most No. 1 albums in UK chart history this year thanks to his new album XXV. In case you were wondering, that’s 14 to be exact.
On stage, during the last night of his sold-out run at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro, Robbie radiated health and happiness – recently celebrating 22 years of sobriety – as he proudly performed the classics from his back catalogue. He was his usual Robbie self – chatty, charming, and honest.
The show opened with his monumental hit from 1998, “Let Me Entertain You”. It was clear at that moment that we were in the hands of a masterful showman.
The stage setup, with video collages and giant ‘floating’ screens combined with pre-recorded videos of Robbie, and not to forget his talented band, and superbly skilled troupe of dancers, was a multimedia hive of activity.
Robbie, the ever-witty storyteller, was candid and open as he revealed some genuinely enthralling and yet wildly hilarious anecdotes from the last 32 years.
His autobiographical journey started in the early days of Take That as he recalled their first music video where he “got covered in cream and jelly and had his bum whipped with a broom but I f**king loved it!” Moved on by the regaling of being kicked out of TT, and then he “set off with a boot full of champagne and a pocket full of cocaine, ready to get insane and I went to Glastonbury to begin what I didn’t know was to be the start of my new life,” he quipped of his notorious weekend partying with the Gallagher brothers of Oasis. Cue his cover of “Don’t Look Back In Anger” followed by an orchestral version of “Eternity” which he dedicated to Ginger Spice – Geri Halliwell – for helping him through “a seriously dark place”.
The rest of his set is a revolving door of smash hits – “Come Undone”, “No Regrets”, “Candy”, “Kids”, “I Love My Life”, and “Rock DJ”. All gloriously lifted the roof off the OVO Hydro, but not as much as the crowd pleasing “Old Before I Die”.
As Robbie professed his love for Scotland – “I feel like a Scot when I’m in Scotland”, he picked a woman out of the crowd who was there with her daughter, who we discovered earlier was a fan of Robbie’s but her daughter not as much. Holding a Saltire in his left hand and his mic in his right, he dedicated his next song to her because “She’s The One”.
The show ended, of course, with his best-selling single “Angels”. A song that was everywhere in the latter years of the 90s. So much so, it was even voted the Best Song of the past 25 years by the public at the 2005 Brit Awards, and to hear it being sung in unison by tens of thousands was heart-warming, goosebump inducing, and a special experience that I’ll treasure forever.
He may be older but he’s still one of the greatest entertainers of the last three decades.
OVO Hydro plays host to national and international music megastars as well as global Entertainment and sporting events.
With a maximum capacity of 14,300, OVO Hydro augments the SEC’s existing facilities and stages 140+ events annually.
Attracting an audience of more than a million visitors each year, the venue is consistently ranked by Pollstar in the top 10 arenas globally, alongside iconic venues like Madison Square Garden and The O2.
Since opening in September 2013, OVO Hydro has staged the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards, the Ryder Cup Gala Concert and the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. It was also a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.