Robbie Williams - Live At Knebworth

Talk about cashing it in and milking the fans for every last penny. This concert has live coverage on Channel 4 (must have cost the channel a fortune) and the DVD is also now available of the same show. This souvenir album only features a handful of songs from his performance so the potential customer is getting far from value for money. Why they didn't release a double CD package with all of the songs is a mystery.(Ed: Well not quite - it's all about the money you see). The songs included feature some below average album tracks and as a concept the  live album fails to recapture the excitement and thrill of seeing him there up on-stage at Knebworth. To hear him live isn't enough, you have to see him in all of his glory to appreciate the full impact hence the availability of the live DVD (Ed: See I told you it was all about the money).

Surrounding himself with excellent musicians, talented backing vocalists and a grandiose set that puts Pink Floyd to shame can't disguise the fact that Robbie Williams is a glorifies Butlins entertainer with a limited vocal range who relies on his cheeky chappie charm and overblown ego to charm his fans, which is exactly why the fans love him so much. He's one of us, the underdog made good, a man who's battled his demons, fought addiction and come out on top. A true survivor. That's not to say he isn't guilt of being self indulgent. "Let Me Entertain You" is one os his cheesiest songs to date and has lifted a lot of ideas from the Who's "Pinball Wizard" but it works live as he works the audience into a lather of euphoria. Less successful is his attempt at transforming himself into a crooner in the mould of Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Bobby Darin. His cover of "Mr Bojangles" while admirable isn't really playing to Williams' strengths but at least as he's having a ball in the process.

Robbie's breakthrough hit "Angels" is performed with consummate professionalism as every word is sung back at him by an adoring and loving crowd, an historic musical moment as over three shows Robbie performed to 375,000 people at Knebworth Park. For those not present at the concert this is the closest you'll get to re-creating the magic unless you buy the DVD.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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