Yes, Robbie Williams Entertained Us

But that wasn't enough to elevate his Tel Aviv show to pop greatness.

Ben Shalev
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Robbie Williams performs at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv, May 2, 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ben Shalev

You can count on our Robbie, all right. He plays the irresponsible, cheeky English chav, but in fact he is an extremely responsible artist. When he calls his concert tour "Let Me Entertain You," you can be sure that he will be entertaining come hell or high water.

There's no doubt that the vast majority of the tens of thousands of people who came to Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park on Saturday night went home properly entertained. Perhaps even overly so. There were too many moments during the performance when it felt as if the guy on stage was grabbing your shirt and asking, "So, am I entertaining you? And now, are you entertained now, too? Are you really entertained, or just a bit? Because if it's not enough I can shake my arse harder and tell a few more jokes about my druggy past and sing a few more Queen songs."

So, yes, we left entertained. But it was not one of those performances in which the show instinct combines in a genuinely good way with the music instinct to become the blend that is the essence of pop music. In other words, Williams' performance was a very middling pop performance, two notches below that of Justin Timberlake at the same venue, exactly one year ago. Justin T came to make music and to entertain as well. And he had a terrific band. Robbie came to entertain and to entertain and also to run through 20 of his songs. And his band was professional, nothing more. We also saw a bit too much of his armpits.

Since Williams respected his Sabbath-observant fans and started late, this review is being written in the course of the concert. Soon he'll sing "Angels," and that is sure to be an uplifting moment — I'm not being snarky. So crank up by around 15 percent the feelings my words suggest. It still isn't a good concert.