I hadn’t listened to Robbie Williams for a long time the day I read he would be going on a new world tour. All of a sudden, my teenage memories of him surfaced, my favorite song started playing in my head and I knew I must see him.
Stepping on the floor of Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to see Robbie with my own eyes. That Robbie who was my favorite of all Take That guys growing up. That cute bad-boy with thick eyebrows, baby face and corny ’90s outfits. That Robbie who was staring at me from my childhood bedroom posters up the wall.
The last 20 minutes before the show started it seemed like the watch on my wrist was blocked. I kept watching it every minute but the needles wouldn’t turn. But the lights finally went down and interractive messages started appearing like chat lines on a phone screen. Robbie communicating with us, giving us orders. And we were happy to obey and do whatever command he typed on the giant screen. When he asked, in bold, red fiery letters: Barcelona, am I still your son? the crowd went mad with excitement. A great welcome back after 10 years of a Robbie-deprived Spain. Even though just virtual, helped by pixels and huge screens, we had established what felt like a deeply human connection. When you expect it less, he jumps on stage and we let him entertain us, no doubt. The crowd, extatic; the connection, powerful; the sound of his voice and the sight of my teenage crush – priceless.
Around me there were people who could be my parents or younger aunts and uncles, making me and my friends feel like teenagers all over again. They had shining stars in their eyes, vibrating on the beats of the effervescent, sexy Mr. Williams. With a young spirit, just like Robbie’s, they were reliving the older songs turned worldwide anthems like Feel or Millenium.
Don’t be fooled by the rocker leather jacket, fully tatooed bare arms and devil’s horns on a bleached blonde hair. Robbie let his loving soul shine through all that paraphernalia. Gentle songs sung in a powerfully warm voice, proudly bringing his father on the stage to sing together Better Man. A rocking pop star turned family man, getting teary eyed when he talks and sings about his children.
He alternates between heartwarming songs, in which we all find a piece of ourselves, and fulminating hits like Kids, Come Undone or his version of We Will Rock You. The silver lining through it all is the Love that he militates for. It’s the supreme force that unites us all, whether it’s romantic infatuation, fatherly affection, or a son’s admiring eyes watching his father on the stage next to him.
Experiencing such a moment in time makes the people and the places that were witness remain special in your heart. Because we don’t remember buildings or street names, or people’s jacket color, but how these made us feel. Palau Sant Jordi can never be anymore just that concert venue on the Montjuic hill, built 25 years ago for the ’92 Summer Olympics. It is now that space in which I breathed the same air as Robbie Williams on a Friday night at the end of March. The friends with whom I shared those magical two hours will stay more than friends, but souls united by love, singing together such magical words:
I just wanna feel
Real love, feel the home that I live in
‘Cos I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste…
We all became One, like Bono says, united by Love, Robbie’s ultimate call for the supreme feeling. When people talk about world peace and love on Earth, I think they actually refer to that kind of state in which the 18,000 people were, under the Sant Jordi roof in Barcelona on March 27. Two hours that went by too fast, in which every one of us got high on love. Robbie was stubborn to do it his way: daring to do a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, accompanied by an 18,000-voice choir is a moment that transcends generations, lives past and present and speaks about the essence of music.
Robbie Williams offered Barcelona more than 2 hours of a greatest hits concert. He offered us a display of passion, love and humor – the best example of living a meaningful life.