Robbie Williams says he’s all about entertainment, and he is enamored of Las Vegas.
What better place for him to sit down for a half-dozen shows than on the Strip?
“Robbie Williams Live in Las Vegas” runs six dates from March 6-16 at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. Williams announced the residency on a YouTube clip Saturday. The formal announcement was issued this morning (tickets start at $59.50 and are on sale 10 a.m. Friday.
Along with his wife, Ayda, and Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, Williams is a judge on “The X Factor” in the United Kingdom and is just wrapping a world stadium tour. Known for his distinctive craftsmanship onstage, Williams gained fame initially with the pop group Take That from 1990-1995, and again from 2009-2012. He also performed the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow.
Williams’ touring show was dubbed “The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour,” with Williams introduced as “The heavyweight champion of entertainment.” He was introduced as if he were a prizefighter, with his backing dancers dressed in what the Sydney Morning Herald described as, “Christmas-themed sports-luxe bondage outfits.”
“Of course, it will be a Vegas spectacle, and will include my greatest hits, some of my most-loved swing songs, and some new surprises,” Williams said in an e-mail message. “My vision is to bring everything I’ve learned over the last 30 years of my performing career and be a regular feature in Las Vegas.”
Williams has won 18 BRIT Awards, the British annual music honors, holding the record for most BRITs won by an artist (13 as a soloist, five with Take That). He’s sold a staggering 77 million records worldwide, about the same sales numbers as KISS and Barry Manilow. When he announced his 2006 world tour, 1.6 million tickets were sold in a single day.
In his characteristically inventive stage show, Williams has closed shows with triumphant covers of “My Way” and sat with his father on a couch for a spin through Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
Fascinated by the city’s live entertainment heritage, Williams said he had always wanted to play Las Vegas.
“The opportunity came up to have some meetings with the lovely guys from AEG (the series’ promoter), and I fell in love with the Encore Theatre,” he said. “Thankfully both AEG and Wynn liked and shared my vision for the show, and we started working together on putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”
Williams’ worldview of Vegas is, “It’s most people’s dream to visit Las Vegas at least once in their life, I think wherever they’re from in the world. It’s a place of legends and I’m honored to have been invited down to play there next year.”
Williams has been “Something Stupid,” the Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet, in his live act. He recorded the song with Nicole Kidman. “I’ve been performing it on the stadium tour I’m in the process of completing this week across Europe, Australasia and Latin America. It always goes down so well with the fans so it may well make an appearance in the Vegas show.”
His “Swing When You’re Winning” is also a natural fit for the Strip. “I can’t come to Vegas and not sing some songs from ‘Swing When You’re Winning,’ of course, and from my 2014 swing album, ‘Swings Both Ways.’ “
His backing dancers will join him at Encore Theater. He first employed dancers in his live act in the 2015, “Swings Both Ways arena tour through Europe and Australia.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it — it was a different feel to playing stadiums and festivals,” Williams says. “I had some great dancers on that tour, as I do on this current stadium tour, and for sure I’ll be having dancers with me for the Vegas show — they bring a fresh energy to the show and to my performance. The swing tour was the first time I’d done something like that, so I’ll be bringing what I’ve learned on that and using the best elements of it to entertain the Las Vegas crowds.”
Williams has battled alcoholism and drug addiction in his climb to fame, telling the recovery publication The Fix last December he had not taken a drink in 18 years. He told the pub, “I’m addicted to an awful lot of things. I have to tend to that stuff and if I don’t tend to that stuff I get in trouble.”
Williams says he is bringing his family to Vegas for his extended engagement at the Wynn. He has three children, all under the age of 6.
“I’m sure I’ll be bringing my family to Las Vega,s as I want them to experience the glitz and the glamour of everything Vegas has to offer,” he says. “I’m excited to get to know the City better, and share the experience with my family.”