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December 18, 2006

Record-Breaking Close Encounters

Robbie’s tour is the fastest selling ever. And that’s just for starters...

No-one can accuse Robbie of doing things by halves. When he played Knebworth he did three dates so he could top Oasis’ two. And where Madonna gets in one guest producer to oversee her album, Robbie teams up with six.

And now there’s the Close Encounters 2006 tour. Fifty-eight shows, six continents, 20 countries and over 3.6million people. Now that’s big.

And right now? He’s shovelling more hits to the Aussies than our cricket team as the nine-month-long Close Encounters 2006 tour finally winds up in Melbourne. So what’s happened since Robbie kicked off the tour back in April? Quite a lot...

First up there were his three debut performances in South Africa – where he played to a staggering 130ꯠ fans. Not bad seeing as he’d never been to the country before. A few nights later, he was tearing it up in Dubai. Four dates, two continents, what a way to start a tour.

But the record-breaking European leg of the tour was where the fun really began. Oh, and so did the on-going who-can-kick-the-football-furthest tournament with Jonathan Wilkes (a draw, last time we counted).

Long established as a mega-draw in Europe, the fans have waited for a return of their hero for three long years. And boy did they let him know it. Robbie threw out the hits, and in return he was treated to an increasingly cheeky flood of banners.

“Kiss me Robbie I’ve been dumped,” begged one fan’s poster. “I’m better than you playing football,” teased another. That must have hurt. But there was more to come. “Sex? Hell no how about Scrabble,” ribbed one banner, while another pleaded: “Give your bodyguards a night off we’ll look after you.” Do you lot have no shame..!

And when one of you chucked a Robbie blow-up doll, with all the right tattoos, up on stage, we knew you gave as you good as you got. But were the Danish royalty behind any of the banners, we wondered. Probably not, although they did show up to his startling Copenhagen show. Royalty, blow up dolls, football… it’s been that kind of tour.

It’s also the kind of tour that just kept on breaking records. He shattered the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest, and largest, number of concert tickets ever sold in one day by shifting a staggering 1.6 million when the European leg of his World Tour went on sale in November 2005. His Leeds concert sold out in 90 minutes. Holland sold-out their four Amsterdam Arena gigs in a breath-taking 89 minutes and in Germany a whopping 20ꯠ fans shivered in the streets of Munich waiting for tickets to go on sale at midnight. Now that’s dedication.

And the story’s been the same in Australia where 300ꯠ tickets sold out in record time. After selling out all five of his originally scheduled December Australian concerts he had to add more!

Close Encounters is the biggest stadium production show to ever tour Australia. That means 57 semi-trailers on the road, 30 steel containers and 27 trucks transporting staging and production and the six 400-amp generators needed to power the show. Even we need a sit down after that..!

And in case you were wondering, Robbie’s tour is even bigger than the Rolling Stones'. Literally. The Close Encounters tour set was four inches higher than the highest ever built, which was for the Stones. Cheekiest, fastest-selling, record-breaking, and now tallest.

The greatest show on earth? Tell us what you think below.