Robbie Williams @ Knebworth


published: Tue 5th Aug 2003

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd August 2003
Knebworth House, Herts, UK MAP
£35 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 125000
last updated: Mon 28th Jul 2003

1st August 2003

When these Knebworth gigs were first announced, it was obvious that these three Knebworth gigs by Robbie Williams were going to be unforgettable. With an line-up which included Kelly Osbourne, Ash, Moby, and The Darkness as well as the mighty 'Robster' himself. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, firstly I hit a huge tailback on the A1, which slowed our progress down, but I can cope with a little bit of traffic slowing us down. Unfortunately this wasn't just a little bit of traffic, this was a hell of a lot of traffic. Hour after hour passed as I just sat in stationary traffic.

Eight hours after setting out from home to do a journey - which normally takes two and a half hours - I finally decided that if I stayed in this traffic jam I'd would miss the entire concert. So I decided to park in the nearest available place, despite it still being a long walk to the venue.

You can imagine the disappointment at the fact that I'd missed all of those fantastic support acts. As I were walking towards the venue I could hear the familiar lyrics of 'Let Me Entertain You' in the distance. So not only had I missed the support, I was now missing the headline act through no fault of my own. (Ummm ... you KNEW - like everyone else - that there were 125,000 going ... how quickly do you think that many people can get into a venue? Do you think that many people can all simultaneously turn up at opening time and all walk straight in? DOH! ... get real - ed.)

Eventually when I got into the venue, I was lost in a sea of people. It was impossible to see Robbie on stage, as only the top half of the stage was visible. So I settled for just watching him on the gigantic stadium screens, which were scattered around the venue.

Robbie was his usual charismatic, energetic, entertaining self, as he belted out his classic songs. During 'Come Undone' after the line 'So rock n roll, so corporate suit', he just looked up and said in a poignant voice 'welcome to my life' and you genuinely got the impression that he does not like that aspect of his life.

He then kicked straight into 'We Will Rock You', which had the entire audience clapping along to the instantly recognisable drumbeat. He took some time to come up with an anecdote about the local butcher and slowly lured the audience into a karaoke version of 'Strong'.

At this point he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, Robbie could have just read from a telephone directory and the fans would have lapped it up. He ploughed his way through 'Me and a Monkey' as well as 'Hot Fudge' accompanied by his backing dancers. The pace then slowed as he performed his version of 'Mr Bojangles', after which he then sang Happy Birthday to his best friend Jonathan Wilkes.

Hit after hit followed, including 'She's the One', 'Love Supreme', 'Kids', 'Feel', and a cracking performance of 'No Regrets', as he finished with the line 'I guess the love we once had is officially dead', he put such emphasis on and emotion into the word 'dead' that you can't help but think that there is some hatred against a certain ex-girlfriend of his.

'Rock DJ' was saved for the encore, but I decided to head back to the car as I could not stand the prospect of spending another eight hours trapped in traffic. So I had to make do with just faintly hearing this awesome track.

Robbie's performance was faultless, it is easy to see why he is one of Britain's top entertainers. Truly entertaining!

On the way out I noticed that there were still thousands of people who didn't make it through the traffic and had missed the entire show. Surely the promoters should give a full refund to those who missed the entire show?

I'm in no way blaming Robbie Williams for the traffic problems, although I do feel that the promoters/police/organisers are responsible. Let's be honest, it doesn't take a genius to work out that if 100,000 cars are coming into a venue then you should open more roads not close them.

review by Luke Seagrave

eFestivals comment
Luke, like the many thousands of those who were late or who didn't even get in have only themselves to blame. Any motorway on a Friday evening is busy, the A1(M) much more than most. Add to that 125,000 people all trying to exit from one junction into a field to park and there are obviously going to be major delays. Expecting to turn up at the time the gates open and drive straight in was never going to happen. Similar problems happen at all large events, and the best way to avoid such hassles is to use public transport.

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd August 2003
Knebworth House, Herts, UK MAP
£35 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 125000
last updated: Mon 28th Jul 2003

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