Interview: Robbie Williams on the UAE, fans, football, and food
We caught up with the legendary British entertainer ahead of his Abu Dhabi gig this month…
Popular British popstar Robbie Williams is making a welcome return to Abu Dhabi this October. The Let Me Entertain You hitmaker will headline at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena as part of his 25 Years of Hits world tour on Wednesday, October 18.
There are still a handful of tickets left, priced from Dhs395 – and you can snap them up via livenation.me.
Known as one of the best live acts of his generation, Robbie Williams has been captivating audiences for the last two and a half decades. A born entertainer, we can’t wait to see this pop icon bring his energetic showmanship and songbook of countless sing-along hits – from Rock DJ to Angels – to the capital this October.
We caught up with the multi-award-winning, world-record-holding popstar ahead of his concert in the capital to talk plans in the UAE, fans, food, football, and more…
What’s On: It’s been 7 years since you performed in the capital, what can we expect from your upcoming concert?
Robbie Williams: With me, you know, I find it very important to entertain and I find it incredibly important to elicit a good emotion for the people that come to the shows. They pay good money and they deserve to have a transformative two hours that takes them out and away from their life. And they can expect that to happen. And if that doesn’t happen, you don’t have to come again.
WO: You were quoted in December for wanting to be an ambassador of entertainment for Dubai, what vision do you have for the emirate? Any big plans?
RW: Vegas is quite a crowded place for people like me. And I realised when I was in Vegas that Dubai doesn’t have the same kind of system, doesn’t have the same kind of ethos where entertainment is concerned. And I’ve always sought opportunity and I’ve always been an opportunist. And it would seem that the UAE and Dubai in particular is a land of opportunity. I’ve still got lots of fuel left in the tank. Still ambitious. Still competitive. And I like the win. I mean, win, not the Wynn. And it seems like we’re very compatible.
WO: What is it you love about the UAE?
RW: I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a very big goer, outer. I like being anywhere where there’s sunshine. And if I do go out, it’s to experience food. And the best food in the world, I have noticed, is in Dubai right now. So it will be a food-based journey out of my hotel room.
WO: You’ve performed in locations all over the world, where stands out and is there anywhere still on your bucket list?
RW: Every audience that I have is incredibly warm and loving towards me. And, you know, different places have, at different times, a habit of surprising me. Weirdly, Austria treats me like I’m Michael Jackson. And Australia has just taken me in as one of their own. And then I got to go to South America, and they know who I am, they know the words to my songs. So I wouldn’t say that there is one place in particular that stands out. I’m just constantly surprised when I go to different places.
WO: If you weren’t a singer, what would you be?
RW: Probably a YouTuber. I’d be trying to create an audience with whatever opportunity there is to create an audience. This is my thing, it’s like I’m not academic, I can’t really spell, I can’t really add up or subtract. But what I can do is beam something that people look at. Now, if I know that that’s the thing that gives me a win and people respond to it kindly, then I would love to be able to do that in any which way that I could. And if I hadn’t become a singer and I hadn’t been lucky enough to pass the audition for Take That, then I guess YouTube would have been my way in. I’m interested in people, I’d probably be doing your job but on YouTube.
WO: Now you’re spending more time in the Middle East and as a huge football fan, are you going to be supporting any particular Saudi team?
RW: I’d love to build my own team. I’d love a Dubai team. I think there’s a call for expats in all countries, to maybe have their own individual teams. I think there may be a call for a British team, obviously there’s a call for a German team, whoever. And I think there could be a league, I’ve got so many ideas.
WO: What is your death row meal?
RW: Rock shrimp tempura, ponzu sauce. Main: sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice. As you can see mine is a fried jamboree. And then I probably wouldn’t get to a dessert because I’d probably feel sick but if there was a dessert something like tres leches with incredible pastry.
WO: Love it. Very continental.
RW: Yeah, we’re posh now.