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Williams the conqueror
Paddy Maher hears Robbie Williams announce the details of his escapology tour which includes an Irish show at the Phoenix Park, Dublin
Paddy Maher, 05 Dec 2002
No doubt it was with great interest that EMI bosses heard Robbie Williams say he “can’t be arsed” to break the ever-elusive American market.
Having signed a stg £80 million deal for five albums, the 28-year-old singer said he’s not interested in making it Stateside: “The absolute truth is I’m completely not bothered. It’s too much hard work. I’ll be a new artist there – I can’t be arsed.”
But the former double-glazing salesman from Stoke-on-Trent isn’t worried. He’s got what’s believed to be the biggest recording deal in history and is expected to play to more than one million people on his European Tour next summer. Included are two Knebworth shows before 250,000 each night and 120,000 in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, the biggest open-air concert ever seen here.
Performing for Williams is the ultimate adrenalin rush and to coincide with the release of Escapology, his fifth solo album since leaving Take That he announced details of the tour to the world’s media in Berlin.
His advice was: “Catch me while I’m hot or come and see me at the holiday shows I’ll do each summer at Butlins with Oasis.”
Since his now legendary headline performance at Slane in 1999 and two sell-out shows in Lansdowne Road last year, Williams has taught himself to play the guitar and will be playing on tour.
“I don’t know whether you heard but there’s been a redundancy in my firm recently and I’ve been pretty much been forced to stop being lazy and actually try and record things which has been a really interesting exercise.
“I’ve written about six or seven songs in the last four weeks and to be forced to sit down and do it all yourself has been amazing and a lot of fun working out how I’m going to make three chords last for another four albums... Ask Noel,” he quipped.
On the end of his songwriting partnership with Guy Chambers , he said “unfortunately for the forseeable future it has come to an end for reasons I don’t want to get into because it would embarass him and embarass myself, but I can say categorically I never ever asked for an exclusivity deal with Guy.” Always the mischief-maker he whispered, “he wanted too much money.”
Now living in LA, Williams said he’s the happiest and most excited he’s ever been and is looking forward to playing here.
“I have the most amazing audience, they know what they are doing when they come to a show,” he told a selection of the world’s media gathered in the Bristish Embassy.
“I’ve got to say – I know the world’s press is here – but Ireland has got the best audience you could ever wish to have. Ireland is very special to me, it always has been and always will be.”
Tongue firmly in cheek, he added “especially now that I’m bigger than Bono!”
But for those hoping to bump into down in the local Spar some day soon, he knocked that idea on the head. “I’ve heard the stories, but I’m absolutely not buying a house in Ireland. I will do in the future, definitely.”
So how does he plan to spend his stg £80 million?
“I’ll have a room full of sweets and eat my way out.”
On second thoughts, as a celebrity he’s bound to have lots of ex-wives so is likely to need it.