Robbie Williams, the newest star on the Las Vegas Strip, is a household name all over the world — well, except here the in the United States. But he’s hoping to change that with his new residency at the Wynn.
While Williams is still relatively unknown to American audiences, he’s know to fill stadiums on four other continents. And as the I-Team’s George Knapp found out, he hopes to become a permanent Las Vegas Fixture.
Williams’ performance Friday night will be his fifth performance at the Wynn, but he is already setting records and generating waves because his first residency sold out in just 30 minutes! And when more dates were added, those sold out as well.
So who is Robbie Williams?
“I wanted to do rock and roll. I wanted to be the Who, the Rolling Stones, you know, but I’m more the Bob Hope,” Williams said as he laughed.
But few who have seen Robbie Williams’ new show at the Wynn will confuse him with Bob Hope because the production feels so big. There’s a nine-piece band, dancers, backup singers, dazzling effects, and from all of that comes a big sound.
The singer says he is spending more on the show than what he’s being paid, primarily because he wants to make a lasting impression on his American audiences.
“This is a calling card,” Williams proclaimed. “I’m making no money in Vegas. It’s just me going ‘check this out. This is what I can do. Would you like me to come back?”
Well, the answer is a clear yes for the promoters and hotel. At an introductory news conference, local executives said the residency sold out in minutes, the fastest they’ve ever seen.
But, Williams is no stranger to such records. One of his tours sold 1.6 million tickets in just 30 minutes.
For his fans, the Wynn showroom is a unique chance to see the artist up close and personal, which is a totally different feel from his usual audiences in the UK, Russia, Australia, and South America that usually packs enormous stadiums.
For Williams, the more intimate setting is a bit scary.
“You go and do a stadium, there’s that many people, a sea of people, that they almost become not there,” Williams said. “In this place, 1,600 people, you can see every single eye, you can see every single smile and every single yawn, and it’s really scary.”
But there have been few if any yawns at Williams’ first Las Vegas shows.
Overall, Williams has sold 77 million records. American audiences may not recognize his biggest hits, but his show is also packed with classics songs made famous in the U.S. by the Rat Pack and cabaret artists like Sinatra and Dean Martin. A couple of men who are his inspiration.
Williams says songs from the iconic men have always been a part of his act. According to Williams, Las Vegas is his Mecca, and those songs are in his DNA.
“I could be a totally different artist here,” Williams said. “I could be, you know, Dean Martin with tattoos, which is the hope.”
Critics have been effusive in their reviews of the new show.
Williams and his show will once again return to the Wynn in June and July. There are also already discussions about a long term deal.