It was the worst kept secret on the Island as Robbie Williams broke his Ibiza virginity to wow the crowd by joining Lufthaus at 528 Ibiza, the venue on the outskirts of San Antonio that has undergone a major facelift.
Despite the usual Ibiza no-show rumours the self styled ‘entertainer’ from Stoke on Trent bounced on to the stage in what looked like an expensive pair of silk pyjamas. The atmosphere was electric as he set the tone early by saying it wasn’t a night for Ángels, his most iconic hit, it would prove to be an interesting night and a clear departure from his comfort zone.
Williams has just released a new single with Lufthaus and that was clearly what he was here for – to promote his new house music direction. Whether it is a midlife crisis or boredom from singing ballads to a middle aged crowd stuck in the 90s he embraced his new challenge with both hands.
This was an island party, mainly local residents and their friends on the guest list keen to see the Robster perform for the very first time on the White Isle in a beautiful, reinvented venue. If you were there for the hits then you were only treated to a few lines from ‘Feel’, Robbie you big tease!.
Williams didn’t travel to Ibiza to bash out his back catalogue and he looked like he was having a whale of a time behind the DJ box before sporadically coming to the front of the stage to engage the crowd with some dad dancing that most middle aged men will identify with. His stage presence was there for all to see as he threw himself (literally) into the hour long set with vocals, dancing and twiddling a few knobs on the DJ rig.
The purists might grimace and some unfair comparisons were made on the night with other artists attempting to reinvent themselves as a house DJ but regardless of snobby asides Williams has an undoubted musical pedigree that gives him gravitas to undertake this new challenge and be given some respect.
His old band mate Howard Donald has been on the DJ circuit for years, Craig David is still wowing crowds at Ibiza Rocks with his all action TS5 show and even celebrity chef Gok Wan was on the island a few weeks ago playing tunes for Clockwork Orange (but the less said about Paris Hilton the better).
The majority of the crowd last night loved the occasion and left happy – it was a win/win/win for a guest list heavy crowd, the 528 venue who announced themselves to the world and an established recording artist craving to do something different. Some might be disappointed that the lighters didn’t come out for an Angels encore but they can always book a ticket on his next greatest hits tour in a cold city rather than this intimate evening in the balmy Ibiza countryside, this was a million miles away from Knebworth.
My only small gripe was that a genuine house remix of one of his big hits would have truly brought the house down while protecting his integrity but alas it wasn’t to be. This was a truly original ‘I was there’ Ibiza night and these occasions don’t come round often these days. Bravo Señor Williams.