UK/Europe: The Show Off Must Go On (1997)
Shortly after the release of Life Thru a Lens, Robbie hit the road for his first ever solo tour - a daunting experience to say the least!
After a few lost years away from Take That, he was ready for a fresh start. Set up with new management and a successful song writing partnership, the future was looking bright.
Norwich was Robbie's first stop. Loyal Take That fans were still flocking in droves to see him - but the next step was to establish a new fan base as people began to recognise the unique talents of Robbie Williams, solo artist!
With the tour confined to smaller venues, London's Hammersmith Palais held the biggest crowds of the tour. Preparations were basic and entourage was minimal. Manager David Enthoven explained: "At the beginning we put the band out and were given a stage to play on and that was it."
Before setting out, Robbie offered a sneaky insight to readers of his fanzine, Solo: "To be honest, the tour is the one thing that's keeping me going right now, getting back on stage will be like coming home. I haven't been able to do what I do best for two years - and that's entertain people.There's going to be an acoustic set in the show and I'll do some covers, including Take That songs. I'll probably do a thrash version of Could It Be Magic, but I'll also be playing all my new stuff from the album."
The Show Off Must Go On moved on to Europe shortly after its UK leg, selling out venues and attracting some curious fans.
Still pre-Angels, a pensive Robbie was riddled with insecurities and feeling doubtful that his solo career would ever take off. Tour manager Franksy recalls: "I remember walking round a lake with him in Italy - it was around the time of his court battle with his former manager and he really thought he was going to be bankrupt. I just had to keep convincing him that it was going to happen. He was so down about it all."
With only a coach each for the band and crew respectively, entourage was minimal, dressing room space was cramped and rehearsals were
almost unheard of!
Baby Girl Window
One of God's Better People
Ego a Go Go
South of the Border
Life Thru a Lens
Back for Good
Old Before I Die
Band Line Up:Gary Nuttall
"What was blatantly evident was that the slow songs are not his area, they are an accessory that he probably feels compelled to insert - a habit from the TT days maybe? Baby Girl Window, Killing Me and Angels were best left on the album..."
The Edge, October 1997
"Tonight he is God, his idolic on-stage presence never faltering for a second, lapping up every single scream... At one point during the hysteria I actually see a pair of pants being hurled towards the stage, proving that that tired old rock cliché is completely alive in Robbie World."
The Guardian, October 1997
"Everyone seemed to be secretly yearning for Mark Owen and crew to suddenly burst onstage, although Robbie's ego filled any gap in their absence. He was great once, but not now, if he realised this he would forget the solo career and hopefully be gone for good."
The Newcastle Courier, October 1997