Rick Astley at O2 Ritz Manchester
July 17th 2018 by Joanne Marsland
Well first of all I’d just like to say that Rick is looking really good at 52, sporting a good head of hair just as he did in the 80’s but a much better dress sense, which is probably true for 90% of the crowd too. There were some younger fans too who had to cover their ears whenever he wanted to curse but he did give fair warning.
The set started with the title track from his new album Beautiful Life which is a very up beat song and was followed by Chance To Dance which has a country vibe to it. After he joked ‘you’d think I’d remember the lyrics as I write the songs wouldn’t you?’ The next song,Keep Singing, was from his last album 50 and I really enjoyed this one, it has a very contemporary sound, and with Ricks soulful voice and the backing singers sounding amazing you could imagine Al Green covering this song with a full gospel choir. He also sang Dance,This Old House and Angels On My Side from the same album.
The other songs were mostly from his new album, Shivers, Rise Up, Try,Last Night On Earth, which he explained that when he sings these lyrics he means every word, and She Makes Me which he dedicates to his wife. He then asks the crowd to sing happy birthday to her and adds she’s going to f**king kill me for this.
The old school 80’s stuff threads neatly inbetween the newer songs but sounding less cheesy than back then. Whenever You Need Somebody and She Wants To Dance With Me really bring the crowd to full voice and Cry For Help showcases the superb backing vocalists.
The stage then empties but not for long. ‘You knew we were coming back didn’t you?’ Rick says ‘I don’t know why people even do that, there’s not even a toilet back there.’ He then asks if the crowd noticed there was a gong on stage and proceeds to explain that he was played a lot of prog rock when he was young by his siblings and an album by Rick Wakeman inspired the next song,The good old days, which he then begins by banging the gong and also gives it a good thrashing at the end too. Then the inevitable happened, Never gonna give you up, the audience singing the whole of the first verse and chorus before Rick joins in. Mid song he introduces all of his band, still singing and busting out some really good/ bad dad dancing moves and then continues the song til the end.
I can honestly say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the show, as it’s not the type of music I listen to on a daily basis, but it felt more like ‘An audience with Rick Astley’ show rather than just a gig, as he chatted throughout and seems like a top bloke with a great sense of humour. I would definitely go to see him again….im pretty sure he would never let you down!!!