Britain's Robbie Williams wows critics with comeback gig

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British singer Robbie Williams finally won over the critics Wednesday with his first concert in three years, crowning a faltering comeback for the sometime troubled star.

Williams, whose hits including "Angels" and "Rock DJ" once made him one of Britain's biggest pop stars, has raised eyebrows in recent years by retiring to the US, growing a beard and becoming obsessed with UFOs.

He is staging a comeback with a new single, "Bodies," from a new album "Reality Killed the Video Star" -- but he has struggled to impress the critics, giving a notably fragile performance on hit TV show "The X Factor."

The single only made number two in the charts at the weekend, and he has admitted to major stage fright while denying using drugs to help him cope with the nerves.

But his first full concert Tuesday, at north London's Roundhouse, was given a firm thumbs-up by critics.

"Robbie Rocks Again," wrote the Mirror tabloid, calling the show "spine-tingling."

"From the balcony of the Roundhouse, he seemed exactly as his fans remember him from before he retired to America," wrote the Guardian's reviewer, awarding him four out of five stars.

The Telegraph added that Williams "reminded pop what it's been missing," saying: "His live comeback after a three-year break was casual, charming, friendly and utterly imperious."

The comeback concert set a new world record, as it was screened by more than 250 cinemas across 23 countries, the most simultaneous cinematic screenings of a live concert.