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#albumoftheday / REVIEW: ROBBIE WILLIAMS: Swings Both Ways Live in London 12.07.14

As you may or may not be aware, Robbie Williams was selling copies of every show of his Swings Both Ways Live tour, just as he did with every show of the Take the Crown tour. It’s not a brand new concept, but only a small number of other artists have ever actually done so thus far. It’s a cool idea, though, as it gives everyone who attends his tours the opportunity to purchase a professionally recorded audio copy of the show they attended, making it the perfect souvenir. And it’s also a great opportunity for his fans outside of Europe to experience his shows as well. The only downside, really, would be the price. 10 pound 99 for a download of one show or 19 pound 99 for an actual CD. As much as I would have preferred a CD for my collection, I had to go with the download because I simply couldn’t afford to spend 20 pounds plus shipping. I was just relieved that I was able to buy one of the downloads from here in the States though, being that Amazon UK and France, etc, won’t let you buy downloads if you’re from outside of those countries. Even if you buy a CD that is supposed to have the auto-rip feature, they can’t let you download it. Licensing reasons and things like that. The same way iTunes will only let you purchase things from your country’s store.

The show I opted to buy was the final show of the tour. From what I could tell, the tracklist seemed the same throughout the tour, but I figured the last one would be the best one because artists usually want to go out with a bang for the final night of the tour, playing extra tracks and such. Plus, by then they’ve gotten all of the hiccups out of the way and they’re running like a well oiled machine. Then again, sometimes artists are just going through the motions, eager to be done with it, by the end of the tour. And sometimes they start off doing more songs at the beginning and as it goes on, night after night, they’re too wiped out so they drop songs. My point being that you should just go ahead and buy whatever show sounds best to you. Especially since we’re talking about Robbie Williams and he always gives 110%. I’ve never seen him in concert, but I’ve seen enough of his live DVDs to know how he’s always running all over the place, trying to engage the audience, sacrificing his body to make sure everyone has a good time whether they’re sitting in the front row or way off in the back of the arena somewhere.

Listening to this show, it’s obvious that Robbie is still running about and singing his heart out. The passion with which he delivers both the swing classics he’s covered on his two swing albums and the new swing songs he wrote for Swings Both Ways is astounding. It’s as though he’s retiring forever after this show and wants to make sure it’s legendary. And that might as well be the case since it’s the final show of the tour and next time he comes around he’ll surely be doing so in support of a new pop record, not his swing records. And since it was roughly ten years between his first swing album and the second, it could be another decade before he puts out another swing album and does another swing tour. So, this *is* it, if only for the next several years. Although I suspect Robbie will put out another swing album after his next pop album because Swings Both Ways did better than his last pop album, Take The Crown, if I understand correctly.

The show begins with an overture from “I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen,” the sole original song he did on his first swing album, Swing When You’re Winning. After that brief intro, the show starts off with a bang with “Shine My Shoes,” one of the singles from Swings Both Ways. It’s bursting with energy on the album, as kick ass as any swing song could actually be, and he performs it with even more vigor here. The next two songs are just as vibrant, “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.” It’s truly amazing how Robbie sings his way through these songs as though he’d been a crooner all of his career. He transforms from pop Robbie into swingin’ Robbie and makes it seem effortless. And at this point I suppose it is. And it’s obvious that he’s having fun doing this. He seems genuinely grateful that his fans will indulge him with the swing stuff. After all, if most major pop stars did a swing album their fans would probably gag and boycott it. But Robbie has gotten away with it with two albums now, Swings Both Ways doing so well as to merit this tour.

Whether he’s doing a surprise cover of “That’s Amore” or the single “Go Gentle,” the latter being the first song he’s written for his infant daughter, Robbie never feels to entertain. His love for his audience transcends these tracks, even making someone who didn’t see the show like myself feel as though they were there witnessing it live. So, I suggest you grab a download and listen to it from start to finish without any distractions, allowing yourself to get fully absorbed in the Robbie Williams swing concert tour experience.

EDITED TO ADD:  Sadly, Robbie Williams is no longer selling these live recordings.  Not on CD or download.  But you should be able to find some of them on ebay and the like.  And we’re sure they must not be too difficult to find at torrent sites and such, too.

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Written by

Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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