Some weeks ago I got an e-mail about Upfront with Robbie Williams, a paid membership section of his website to ‘accompany’ him on the Swings Both Ways tour. For just 3.99 pounds a month members are treated to phone calls from Robbie, regular text messages, online chats and access to exclusive photos, videos and audio clips that can’t be found anywhere else. I joined immediately. At first I didn't even notice the possibility of winning a meet & greet with Rob during the tour, but once I did I entered and forgot all about it…
Last Wednesday I got an e-mail that said: Congratulations - you'll be meeting Robbie in Amsterdam! I couldn't believe my eyes. Read it, and read it again, and again. Googled the name of the person I had to contact just to be sure. ‘Artist & Celebrity Security’, that sounds about right… And then it sunk in…. OMG OMG OMG OMG Oh My Gods OMG OMG OMG OMG, I won!! I’m going to meet Rob!!! And I won two tickets too. I had ordered tickets months ago. It was the first time that Ron would go with me to a Robbie concert. He likes Rob and his music too, especially the swing songs. We sold our tickets to friends. And then the waiting started… I wasn't really nervous, just very much looking forward to it. I didn't expect too much of it, but that was totally okay! Who cares if it doesn't mean to him what it means to me…? Even if it would be just 5 minutes, they are MY 5 minutes with Rob and 5 minutes more than a lot of other fans had!
So last Sunday was The Big Day! We left well on time, wouldn't want to get stuck in traffic! We arrived early and talked to some friends that were waiting in line. We collected our tickets at the box office and met the other winner and her friend. Around 6.30 pm two security guys came to pick us up and then suddenly I got really nervous. I was so glad Ron was there to keep me grounded! We walked through some corridors and were led into an empty dressing room to wait for Rob. The jitters worked overtime in my stomach, but I managed to calm myself down a bit.
Rob entered the room with Josie (his PA), security and a photographer. One of the security guys touched the light switch with his bum and the lights went out. We all laughed about it, especially when he seemed a bit awkward! At first Rob thought Ron and I were from the record company and just gave us a quick hand. Then he kissed and hugged the other girls. I was too flabbergasted to say anything, but when he was pointed out his mistake he more than made up for it! It sort of broke the ice though, and my nerves faded a bit. He kissed and hugged me real tight.
He asked all of us where we were from and how long it took to get to the Ziggo Dome. While chatting with us he was standing very close to me. Part of me couldn't believe this was really happening, so I consciously used all my senses to record this experience… When he heard what we had to do to win this meeting, he laughed and joked “What?? That’s all? Just click a button? That’s not much, is it?” He was relaxed and really took his time to talk with us. He radiated a general sense of happiness.
The photographer was taking pics all the time. The dressing room had a blue wall, in front of which she took the ‘official’ pictures. First with each of the other girls, and then it was my turn. Rob put his arms around me and pulled me close to him. I didn't resist, on the contrary, haha! He gave me a soft squeeze, whispered something in my ear and put his cheek to mine. He smelled intoxicatingly sexy…
Ron joined us for another picture. He bent his back and knees, but Rob still had to stand on tiptoes to get his arms over our shoulders. After the pic was taken he asked Ron “Man! How tall are you?” When Ron said he is 2.04m Rob grimaced impressed and shook his hand again.
And then it was time to say goodbye. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart, we all did, for this wonderful and intimate meet and greet. It was fabulous and I enjoyed every single second of it for 100%! Wow, just wow….
Security escorted us back to the general corridor. I asked about the pictures. We will get them emailed later. Josie had made a few pics with her mobile phone for Upfront, so at least we have that one already. We talked about this unique shared experience, cried out happily and bounced around. I was quiet though, had a bit of trouble landing. I went to the bathroom and just sat there for a while, silently enjoying reliving that 15 minutes. Then I put a happy status on Facebook and went out again.
In the corridors Ron and I met our friends, who of course were very curious. We drank something and went to our seats. We had great view from second row. Around us were mostly English people, behind us sat the choreographer of the show. A man next to us made a picture of Ron and me and we made ‘selfies’. Just before 8 pm the speaker announced two minutes silence. May 4th is our national Remembrance Day and at 8 pm two minutes of silence are observed throughout the country. It was very impressive to witness complete silence in a venue filled with thousands of people.
And then…. The concert!!! I won’t write a minute-to-minute report of that, you can find those anywhere. I very very much enjoyed it. Loved the sets, loved the outfits (esp. the captain’s jacket), loved the songs… Opening with ‘Shine My Shoes’ is a great choice, as it does for a swing concert what LMEY does for a pop concert.
Although I missed some of my favourites from the swing albums I really liked the medleys (the one with ‘Shout’ was awesome!!). The swing versions of some of his pop hits were wonderful, although for some songs it worked better than for others.
‘That’s Amore’ was great; I’m a Dean Martin fan and hope Rob will do ‘Sway’ too one day… The whole wedding scene was very funny. He said he couldn't kiss a random fan on stage anymore, being 40 and a daddy and all… So he proposed to a fan, married her on stage and then kissed her full on the mouth. J
I wasn't too impressed by the female singer that did ‘Empire State Of Mind’ (too piercing and shrill to my liking), but loved Rob’s ‘New York New York’. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Next Generation Rat Pack with at least Rob and Michael Bublé doing the old songs…? The close harmony part with Guy Chambers and the others was sensational too. I want more of that!
Together with his dad he sang ‘Do Nothing Till You Here From Me’. He looked so adorably proud when his dad walked on stage, aww… It’s no mystery where he got the entertainment genes! I really like those personal touches in Rob’s concerts.
I understand why Rob felt he had to do ‘Angels’ and although I like it a lot, it felt a bit out of place for me. A well-known and powerful swing ballad would have been better, but I’m afraid a lot of people wouldn't put up with missing ‘Angels’…
From time to time while I was enjoying the concert it suddenly hit me: hey, I talked to that man! Our bodies touched. We kissed and hugged, and there are pics to prove it. As if I’d ever forget…
I want to thank RobbieWilliams.com / Upfront, the crew, security and of course Rob himself for an incredible night to remember….!