For some of you, it might be difficult to comprehend that Robbie Williams was quite literally the biggest pop star in the UK and parts of Europe. With a hallmark homecoming performance at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park as well as an upcoming headline slot at Romania's gargantuan Untold Festival, it still proves he has the credentials, and extensive back catalogue, to warrant such postures.
Arguably his finest hour, however, was joining an illustrious legion of contemporary British legends like Led Zeppelin, Oasis, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Pink Floyd in headlining Knebworth Festival, back in 2003. The intermittently recurring festival, held in the regal grounds of Knebworth House, has regularly welcomed in excess of 125,000 on each occasion. Well, Williams at the height of his post-Millenium popularity sold out three consecutive dates, performing for a total of 375,000 across the duration. Mind-boggling figures.
The adoring masses rose to fever-pitch throughout the day as a mish-mash of support artists in Moby, The Darkness, and Kelly Osbourne took the stage before the crowning jewel of British pop music entered the fray; curtains branded with his initials withdrew to reveal William suspended upside down, arms stretched out wide in a faux-crucifixion position to begin proceedings. Cue pandemonium.
As the iconic opening piano chords of 'Let Me Entertain You' rang out, Robbie with his well-loved cheeky bravado burst onto the stage and after a couple of anthemic choruses announced himself: "My name is Robbie Williams. This is my band. And for the next two hours, your ass is mine." 125,000 asses to be precise were bombarded with a hit-laden set featuring what are now stone-cold classics, such as 'Come Undone', 'She's The One', 'Rock DJ', the list goes on.
It's strange to comprehend that on the cusp of the 21st century, Williams was consistently in the charts with back-to-back bangers, proving his mettle as a contemporary pop icon. The sheer demand from his faithful UK fanbase to see him at the peak of his powers ensured that his Knebworth performance was groundbreaking, era-defining, and truly legendary. Once his frenetic two-hour set came to an end, the prodigal son returned with 'Angels' as the encore. What else?