Live Review: Robbie Williams

5 March 2018 | 5:00 pm | Jennifer Sando

"For those without high expectations Williams came through with the goods, but he also didn't bust his chops for us."

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Sporting a dark kilt and starry jacket, Robbie Williams was surrounded by girls in sequined boxing costumes when he opened with The Heavy Entertainment Show at Adelaide's Clipsal 500.

A vocally safe Let Me Entertain You followed, which set the tone for the rest of his show: lacking in energy, with Williams essentially holding out on us. The Clipsal crowd was tough; not Williams's usual audience. The setlist was poorly thought-out and with some questionable choices, although Come Undone, Millennium, Kids, Rock DJ and Feel worked for the crowd.

Monsoon was interrupted when the band switched to a Village People tune. "Hang on," Williams told us, "I don't need to resort to this - I'm Robbie 'Fucking' Williams and I can sell out Adelaide." On a comedy level, he hit the spot, but with well-rehearsed banter that was not spontaneous.

The sound set-up was vexing; it didn't fill the space, although the punters right up front probably didn't notice. With too much bass, the sound didn't carry through from the stage - a bit like having a busted speaker in your car.

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George Michael's Freedom was a great highlight and so was hearing Williams tease, "If you're a bogan and you know it, clap your hands."

There's no question that he's a born, charismatic entertainer, but, this time around rather, it was his jokes and stories that held our attention. Unfortunately, this interrupted the flow of the concert.

Following the encore break, he walked out slowly with a little grin - and you got the feeling he was here because he had to be, not because he wanted to be. Performance-wise, it was as though he was on auto-pilot.

The mobile phones came out for his monster hit Angels, which prompted a singalong that made it clear winner for crowd-favourite.

He finished off with Men At Work classic Down Under, an excellent choice for the crowd, but then proceeded with a cappella snippets of songs he had already sung to us and this came off as a series of pleas - bad choice, Williams. Was it his way of confirming that he knew the show wasn't up to scratch? Was he still trying to convince us he was indeed Robbie 'Fucking' Williams?

For those without high expectations Williams came through with the goods, but he also didn't bust his chops for us - just gave us enough to meet minimum entertainment requirements. Williams looked fantastic, his voice is in good form and he's funny as hell, but for those familiar with his live experience, and his true capability on stage, this show simply would not fly.