Live Review: Rick Astley – 25th November 2014 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Over the last several years, many of the biggest stars from the 80’s and 90’s have emerged out of the woodwork for another strike at success. For 90’s artists, television shows like The Big Reunion have helped the process of introducing some of music’s most successful acts to new generations. Recently we have seen the likes of Aqua and 5ive revisit their successful back catalogues and bring their shows back to the stages of the world. Touring retro festivals have been the driving force behind the resurgence of many 80’s artists’ popularity with the likes of Nik Kershaw, Alison Moyet, Culture Club and Human League all retaining a public awareness over the years and finding their albums being listened to by todays younger music fans and despite a break from the music industry for close to 20 years, 80’s heartthrob and chart dominator Rick Astley has continued to retain a pretty powerful fan-base over the last few decades and those fans were delighted earlier this year when the singer announced another tour of down under.
Rick was last in Sydney in 2012 when he performed a string of shows for fans in the city and several of the country’s hot spot venues. This time around the singer is offering fans a further night of nostalgia as he brings his Together Forever tour to Australia to thrill fans again and the crowd certainly was thrilled last night as the Never Gonna Give You Up gyrating hit-maker took to Newtown’s Enmore Theatre to deliver a night of career spanning hits.
With any artist like Rick Astley, there is always going to be a big demand for them to play the songs that gave them their star status and Rick wasn’t shy in bringing the hits that made the singer a household name throughout the eighties to the surface of last night’s show. He opened the evenings set with one of his biggest career achievements, Together Forever, and showed us that he still has a knack for drawing a frenzied applause from his audience as he crooned through one of the biggest singles of his career. Further career notables followed with It Would Take A Strong Strong Man and She Wants To Dance With Me which had the seated audience up on their feet and grooving away with the king of that famous 80’s shuffle which was unfortunately absent during last night’s performance by Astley himself but was given a go by a fan who Astley introduced on stage to perform a duet with on My Arms Keep Missing You.
While the oldies were delivered by the bucket load, Rick was eager to put his distinctive tones to some of today’s biggest radio hits as a way of keeping the show fresh for himself and splitting up some of the classic Rick Astley numbers. Among the covers performed, which took up residence during the latter half of the set list, was a worthy rendition of Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky with a line from Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky closing the track, perhaps as a nod to his former writing partnership with 80’s hit factory team, Stock Aitken Waterman who helped carve Astley’s history making career of Top 10 hits back in the day.
The show was a rather low key affair given the size of the venue but big enough for Rick, who was dressed sharply in a maroon suit and tie, and his backing band of 5 to strut around the stage and give a top notch performance to a very eager, and at times overexcited, crowd. At one stage, following his performance of When I Fall In Love, a lady from the front row threw a pair of pink underwear at Rick who was left looking both stunned and intrigued at what had just happened before passing the garment to his drummer for a laugh. He was certainly enjoying the attention given by his female fans, declaring to the ladies in the audience to “drink it in” as he strutted the stage with confidence and calling another fan out in the middle of the show by asking her “are you watching my arse as I walk”.
The most nostalgic moment was obvious as Rick delivered a pitch perfect encore of Whenever You Need Somebody and his signature hit, Never Gonna Give You Up. While it was obvious that he had “given up” the dance moves that had the girls swooning over him in the songs music video, Rick still managed a shake his tail here and there which got the crowd going and the camera phones held in the air.
While Rick may not be considered hot property in the music industry these days as he was back in his day – something Rick drew attention last night, giving a shout out to those who he knows would have been “dragged” to his show – he certainly knows how to work that to his advantage in his banter with the crowd, regularly taking the piss out of himself and coming across as a genuine lad’s lad. There is also something that cannot be questioned – this guy can sing! He was able to conquer the soulful Temptations hit Ain’t Too Proud To Beg and Swedish House Mafia’s clubfloor anthem Don’t Worry Child with such power and ease. His big, soulful voice is his biggest asset and its one of the finest out there.
I always love going to these types of shows; shows where we are reminded of the stars that carried the torch for some of music’s most vibrant eras and Rick is a fine example of that. He may not be branded the reigning king of the charts anymore but Rick Astley will always be able to continue on the musical path knowing that he has a solid back catalogue that will be getting fans eager to see him for many years to come. Let’s hope he never gives THAT up!
It Would Take a Strong Strong Man
She Wants to Dance With Me
When I Fall in Love (Jeri Southern cover)
Happy (Pharrell Williams cover)
Don’t Say Goodbye
Take Me to Your Heart
Hold Me in Your Arms
My Arms Keep Missing You
The Ones You Love
Cry for Help
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (The Temptations cover)
My Girl (The Temptations cover)
Don’t You Worry Child (Swedish House Mafia cover)
Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover)
Whenever You Need Somebody
Never Gonna Give You Up
Rick will continue his Together Forever tour throughout Australia on the following dates:
26TH NOVEMBER – CANBERRA THEATRE, CANBERRA
28TH NOVEMBER – CHELSEA HEIGHTS HOTEL, MELBOURNE
29TH NOVEMBER – PALAIS THEATRE, MELBOURNE
30th NOVEMBER – COSTA HALL, GPAC GEELONG
2ND DECEMBER – FESTIVAL THEATRE, ADELAIDE