The iTunes Festival has been playing all month so far at The Roundhouse in Camden. Every night a variety of artists take to the stage serving up the best in live music. Last night it was the turn of Robin Thicke who has dominated the summer across the globe with his smash-hit Blurred Lines. Supported by Aloe Blacc, Thicke was the headline act bringing songs from his Blurred Lines album and his back catalogue to a packed-out audience.
Arriving on stage shortly before 9pm, Thicke was looking every inch the sophisticated gentlemen decked out in his trademark suit and shades. As the band played the instrumental version of An Angel on Each Arm from 2011 album Love After War, Thicke arrived with his three backing singers (not that they seemed to sing anything) / dancers and opened his set with current single Give It 2 U. The high-energy electro-pop track got the evening off to a fantastic start with the audience dancing and singing along.
The high-energy continued as Thicke performed the Timbaland-produced Take It Easy On Me and will.i.am produced Feel Good which are both taken from his Blurred Lines album. Both tracks kept the audience in a party mood and it was clear that they were popular songs with the fans. Throughout the songs, and his set, Thicke interacted with his gorgeous backing dancers and boogied his way across the stage. Once he removed his jacket and waistcoat some of the more over-enthusiastic audience members began to scream like crazy.
The middle of the set slowed things down as Thicke revisited 2008 album Something Else and slowed the tempo down. Sat at the piano he performed classic single Magic before moving on to Dreamworld. At this point he seemed to lose the audience a little but and we suspect that many people weren’t away of Thicke’s back catalogue, instead attending the show based on Blurred Lines and the album of the same name. For long-time fans this was a real treat and Thicke’s voice sounded superb showcasing the soulful tone he’s known for.
After taking a brief break whilst the band played an interlude of I’m An Animal, Thicke returned to sing Shooter, a song that appeared on his 2003 debut A Beautiful World and his 2006 breakthrough The Evolution of Robin Thicke. The heavier hip-hop beat of the song won the audience back and at the end Thicke mashed the song up with Bob Marley’s Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.
One of the biggest crowd reactions of the night came when Thicke performed his breakthrough hit Lost Without U. For the song he mixed with the front rows of the audience and promptly got his shirt unbuttoned by one over-zealous fan. Unperturbed he returned to stage to finish the song with the audience singing at the top of their lungs.
As the closing bars of the song finished, Thicke thanked the audience and left the stage. Deafening chanting ensued and he returned for a 5-song encore starting with Shakin’ It 4 Daddy from 2009’s Sex Therapy. The song worked the audience into a frenzy and no sooner than the song had finished, Thicke had already moved on to a double whammy of cover versions with Michael Jackson’s Rock With You and Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.
The finale of the show was of course Blurred Lines which received the warmest reception of the evening. Dancing and singing took over the audience whilst Thicke strutted his stuff on stage. The song is without a doubt what everyone had come to hear and it didn’t disappoint. Following the performance, Thicke and his band basked in the appreciation of the audience and performed a little bit of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s song Clique. Thicke unleashed his rapping skills before leaving the stage to rapturous applause.
Robin Thicke’s set was amazing and we were surprised that he performed so many songs from his back catalogue. It’s a shame the majority of the audience weren’t more up-to-scratch on his hits as the atmosphere muted a little around the middle. This was through no fault of Thicke’s who remained charismatic and gave incredible live vocals throughout. Whilst Thicke is currently going through a thoroughly undeserved backlash, it was good to see him silencing his critics with a polished set that showcased him as a remarkable live performer. We can’t wait for his to bring his tour to the UK.