Rick Astley performing his 50 Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Thursday 30th March 2017

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It was only last April that Rick Astley entertained a packed Royal Concert Hall and last night he did it all over again.

Best known for his 1987 plastic pop single, Never Gonna Give You up and for being a product of Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s ‘hit factory’, his comeback has been amongst the most astonishing.

After the opener, Coming Home Tonight, his next song, the 1988’s Forever Together got the crowd on their feet with its almost Motown feel thanks to Astley’s tight band and his two excellent backing singers.

It was no surprise that there were a number of songs from his latest album, especially given that it went straight to number one and sold over 260,000 copies. Not bad for a man who ‘retired’ in 1993. There was the heart warming and up lifting Keep Singing, the wickedly catchy Angels On My Side and Dance encouraged the audience to do just that.

Showcasing his rich and soulful voice on the likes of the funky This Old House and newbie Pieces, it was his acoustic set of Sailing, Sleeping and Superman which had this crowd up on their feet in appreciation.

After singing Happy Birthday to a fan, he launched into his old hits after delighting everyone with a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You which was surprisingly good. Hold You In My Arms was slower and richer and It Would Take A Strong Strong Man was delivered in the way only Astley can with his power house vocals that has lost none of its range.

With a set list that saw him switch from up tempo disco style tracks to slow love ballads, he even managed a bit of Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll and a smidgen of Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes. For the encore there was a mash up of Take Me To Your Heart and We Found Love by Rhianna, which got the whole place up for his 1987 hit, Never Gonna Give You Up.

With his amusing between song banter and self deprecating humour, Astley was thoroughly entertaining, so much so that this audience will be back to do it all over again next year.