Robbie Williams At BST Hyde Park – Review

By Caroline Phillips

2 weeks ago

Here's the rundown on Robbie

Caroline Phillips reflects on Robbie Williams‘ performance at BST Hyde Park 2024.

Robbie Williams At BST Hyde Park: The Highlights

Robbie Williams with dancers onstage at BST Hyde Park

Image courtesy of BST Hyde Park

Onetime bad boy Robbie Williams is a national treasure. His comeback gig this week, a UK exclusive in Hyde Park, played to an audience of 65,000 fans with a waiting list. Robbie made a grand, lengthy entrance – a film played on a massive backdrop of his making his way to the stage in a silk dressing gown, past dancing girls, signing autographs on the backs of bystanders and high-fiving others; and Let Me Entertain You was accompanied by a video in which he  read ‘The Hyde Park Times’ complete with headline, ‘Is Robbie Williams the world’s greatest entertainer?’. At least he posed it as a question.

Once on stage, he wore a white suit and a bling chain reading ‘F*** Off’. Soon he was down to his tank top and tattoos. 

Fans were treated to a 34-year musical odyssey cum memoir alongside some stand-up comedy alongside some therapy confessional (lots on Robbie’s highs, lows, sex and drugs and gratitude after 24 years clean and sober; and about being vulnerable, oversensitive, 50 and still going strong,) the stuff of his Netflix documentary. ‘Oh get over yourself, Robbie,’ urged the woman behind me, as the popstar wondered aloud whether he was safe to share. ‘I came for the music.’ But others found his approach touching. ‘The man you see tonight is as happy as I’ve ever been,’ added Robbie.

There was a mish mash of styles. One was his acid-trip-meets Monty-Python version of Blur’s ‘Parklife’ with 44 Coldstream and Welsh Guards who marched playing brass instruments and wearing their beefeaters – alongside Eastenders legend Danny Dyer. Then there was Robbie’s beautiful, energetic backup dancing troupe – wearing sequinned bikinis to glittery kaftans with black bikinis underneath –juxtaposed with ‘Advertising Space’ and its dedication to entertainers who’d grappled with substance abuse, from Elvis to Amy Winehouse.

Fans belted out not just his hits, but also Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ (enter Robbie in besequinned Adidas-style red jacket), Supergrass’s ‘Alright’ (to Gaz Coombes’ appearance). Hyde Park was the place to be if you wanted a singalong. But not great if you prefer your music without your neighbours’ off-pitch additions while standing for a two-hour performance. 

It was touching when the rockstar (‘Daddy’s a f**king rockstar,’ as Robbie put it) paid tribute to his four kids and wife, Ayda Field, adding, ‘I love my life.’ It was sweet when he warbled ‘She’s The One’ to the Robbie-besotted mother and daughter (the latter simply couldn’t let go of Robbie’s hand and mum and progeny both cried) in matching tops – who’d flown in from Rome for the concert. And fun when he offered T-shirts for the best and worst audience dancing. It was particularly lovely when the audience turned on their phone torches and swayed them in the air for Angels, the song released when Labour last got into government with a landslide.

Robbie Williams and dancers onstage at BST Hyde Park

Image courtesy of BST Hyde Park

The audience was as wide ranging as the show, from sixtysomethings wearing National Trust embossed rucksacks to Essex geezers, Knightsbridge mamas, singer Eyal Booker, and one woman who came dressed as Barbie. One lady, 40, shook her mango soda, sprayed it over the audience and then declared, ‘I’m dealing with my anger management issues.’ But, overall, it was an oldie crowd there for an oldie. ‘Wave your hands like it’s still the Nineties and you’ve got the energy!’ Robbie exhorted his fans before ‘Millennium’.

The Robbie merchandise sold out quickly: the witty MAGA-inspired ‘Make Robbie Great Again’ caps (£30) disappeared from the shelves in minutes. But the ill-judged humour of T-shirts emblazoned, ‘Robbie says RELAPSE’, were left behind.  

The BST events in Hyde Park get five stars: from the organisation of swift entry and exits to the range of food stalls – encompassing chicken tikka and Japanese bites to loaded fries and Mexican – and the rapid removal (and recycling) of any rubbish. Even the lavs were clean. 

I’ve seen some of the best in Hyde Park, from Pavarotti to Freddie Mercury. Robbie wasn’t in that league, but it was an enjoyable, nostalgic evening. As he himself quipped, if England hadn’t got through that day to the Euro semi-finals, the audience perhaps wouldn’t have felt quite so entertained. But there had been torrential rain all day, then we were blessed with a rainbow and blue skies for the concert. The weather gods saluting the national treasure?


American Express Presents BST Hyde Park runs until 14 July, with different headliners each day.