Robbie Williams Changed My Career: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say: Age 20

“I’ve got 2 free tickets to see Robbie Williams in Manchester tonight, if anyone is interested?” asked Pete, my film tutor in college. Now, I’ve never really been a Robbie Williams fan - he wasn’t something I’d actively avoid, like rabies or cucumbers - but he was just never my cup of tea. Having said that… free tickets to a concert, you say?! That seemed like something I couldn’t refuse. So, my friend Jack and I took him up on the offer; we got an early dart from college and set off to the Etihad Stadium. ‘Maybe the support act will be good?’ I offered to Jack, who seemed dubious. He just fancied getting off college early and was less of a Robbie fan than I was. Neither of us were entirely sure why we’d agreed to come, but you know, free.

We made our way into the stadium, bought the obligatory £8 pint and found our position; surrounded by thousands of adoring middle-aged women. They adored Robbie Williams of course, having no idea I’d be there.

Suddenly, the music hit. There was a palpable excitement in the stadium that was difficult not to get swept along with. Descending from the skies, cameras projected the household name as he zip-wired down to the stage with a trail of red smoke behind him. I watched on, absolutely in awe. 50,000 people were there that night to see this one man and he was incredible. The biggest personality in the room, bursting with confidence and an absolute showman. The arrogance, the bravado; genuinely compelling shtick and I completely got it.

I arrived to the gig expecting to hate it. 5 minutes in I was singing and whooping with the best of them. I’d gone this this gig completely nonchalant and apropos of nothing, and came away genuinely, surprisingly inspired. In total wonderment. I never could have predicted it would have such a tremendous impact, but it really did. It wasn’t just a show, it was an event, and we were all part of it.

It’s safe to say that it reenergised me completely - changing my entire outlook on how I was going to progress forward. I’d become somewhat subdued with close-up magic and wasn’t sure where to go. This was it. Performing on stage and making people feel excited to be there. Not just being a ‘table-slave’ performing some close-up magic to drunk, unappreciative tables at corporate events - but doing shows. Proper shows with music and lights. I was excited about what would be possible and genuinely couldn’t wait to start working on it. The whole thing happened by complete chance and kick-started everything that was to come.

The show ended and we made our way back to the car, completely taken aback by the previous few hours. We drove back to Liverpool, buzzing with enthusiasm. I put Angels on Spotify. Robbie Williams is brilliant, I thought.