A Concert for Heroes, Twickenham Stadium
Tuesday 14 September 2010
The bromance is back on. After 15 years, Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow are on stage together, hugging and looking into each other's eyes as they sing their new single "Shame" in front of an excitable crowd of 60,000.
If it's easy to be cynical about such a saccharine reunion, at least the performance is for a good cause. The show at Twickenham Stadium is raising money for the charity Help for Heroes – cue lots of sexy camo outfits of dubious taste and flares being used as stage props. But while we're shown videos of veterans' post-army lives, the concert is mercifully restrained on the "our boys" rhetoric.
It's big on cheese, however. Taking a variety-show approach, they stuff in the fun, from a string of X Factor and Britain's Got Talent winners (including gymnastics troupe Spelbound throwing Katherine Jenkins and her threatening-to-spill cleavage around the stage) to Bruce Forsyth tap-dancing to Tom Jones singing forces' favourite "Green Green Grass of Home".
Not everyone pulls off the stadium setting – there are bum notes in many of the pop performances (I'm looking at you, Saturdays and Pixie Lott), and the sheer scale of the venue overwhelms some of the stand-up comedians. Heart strings are firmly tugged at as the evening progresses. James Blunt, despite being the musical equivalent of Ready Brek, turns in a tuneful and confident performance. His soppy hit "You're Beautiful" marks the first crowd choker, but it's no match for Enrique Iglesias. He was presumably asked to perform because of the title of his biggest hit,"Hero" – and although the overblown ballad is faintly nauseating, the crowd adores it.
Robbie has always been about the swagger, and whether he's swivelling his hips or skipping impishly round the stage, he certainly does – as his opening number requests – entertain us. After duetting with Barlow, his final song is, of course, "Angels". It becomes a giant sing-and-sway-along, with just the right amount of easily digestible poignancy.
Grace Dent on TVtv
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners