I’m not going to lie, I went into this gig knowing exactly one Rick Astley song which I realised was going to be the finale of the set. Alas, I turned up expecting to watch some (perhaps drunk) middle aged fans dance around whilst I waited patiently to experience ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ live. However, I was pleasantly surprised and had a rather lovely, if somewhat surreal evening…
Rick Astley is a dynamic stage presence, impressing all with his enthusiasm for the live show. He managed to bring a lot to just one show - at times he had the whole crowd on their feet dancing, yet at other times he performed emotional love songs, the seat also featured a crowd sing along competition and covers of other artists. With some stories and banter thrown in between songs to keep the show flowing.
I really enjoyed the covers as I felt they showed what Rick Astley is capable of, taking a famous song and putting his own spin on it really made me appreciate his sound. However, I think watching Rick Astley perform a cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ was the surrealest moments of the night, especially when he changed the lyrics to be about Newcastle and Gateshead, making for a very entertaining feature of the night.
Rick also told the crowd of his penchant for performing a new cover every tour and the night featured his performance of George Ezra’s summer anthem ‘Shotgun’ which he had mashed up with Paul Simon’s absolute classic ‘You Can Call Me Al’ which worked well and provided the perfect link between old and new.
This was a real theme throughout the set, swapping between old and new. Everytime Rick was armed with his guitar he performed a new song, which were definitely met with less enthusiasm of the crowd, however he seemed to realise this and kept the crowd engaged by interjecting the setlist with his older hits. One of his newer songs even references his love for the now old songs he grew up listening to and was obviously inspired by. Throughout the night, his older songs were very well received with majority of the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along (not including some of the husbands who had clearly been dragged along against their will).
Rick clearly completely trusts his band who provided the instrumental solos throughout the night allowing them to showcase their skills also. The back up singers really impressed and provided some amazing vocals whilst also very easily being the best dressed of the night with costume changes I was envious of.
The night finished with the ultimate Rick Astley anthem, ‘Never GOnna Give You Up’ which managed to get everyone to their feet and singing along, even those who had been reluctant thus far throughout the set. Easily the highlight of the show and the perfect way to end the concert.
Spending a Monday night watching Rick Astley isn’t anything I ever thought I would be doing but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This was also my first visit to The Sage and I was impressed, a great venue which I look forward to visiting again soon (also a massive thanks to The Sage box office staff and ticketing team for being so helpful and accomodating which really added to my enjoyment of the night).
Follow Rick Astley's tour and purchase tickets: http://www.rickastley.co.uk/