Review: RICK ASTLEY, Evan Theatre - Penrith Panthers 23 November 2012

What happens when you get a charismatic, middle-aged, Englishman playing drums in Australia?

 

You get 80s pop icon and singer-songwriter, Rick Astley!

 

Astley, who has has sold over 40 million records and held the No 1 spot with Never Gonna Give You Up in 25 countries, is currently touring Australia and, do you know what? His show is brilliant!

 

Astley is personable, funny, does not mind poking fun at himself or the audience and everyone has a great time. He even gets punters up on stage at different times to either sing with him, show off their dance moves or just to talk to them!  

 

From the moment we heard the opening bars of his 1988 chart-topper, Together Forever, people were out of their seats and bopping the night away.  Many fans have waited over two decades to see their idol and this was going to be a night they will remember for years to come!

 

The hits of yesteryear were given an airing with It Would Take A Strong Strong Man, She Wants To Dance With Me, Never Gonna Give You Up and Cry For Help sung in that superb, deep, soulful voice that I remember him for.   

  

Astley also has some great sounding new material.  He performed his current single, Superman, and Lights Out, from his forthcoming  album due for release next year. 

  

It’s apparent that Astley is an excellent singer and, at 46, his voice is in fine form.  However, those famous Astley dance moves were absent as he joked his middle-aged knees now fail him in the dance department.

 

Astley entertains the crowd in a charming, engaging and interactive style.  He managed to endear himself to the audience, including the bored looking husbands that were no doubt dragged to the show by their excited wives who were keen to get close to their childhood crush.

 

To be honest, Astley’s performance came as a pleasant surprise as I really didn’t know what to expect.  Tonight’s gig has unexpectedly converted me into a fan and I can easily say that I would rank him up there as one of the best entertainers that I have seen.  I will definitely be there should he tour again.

 

During the set, Astley throws in some covers from The Temptations - Ain’t Too Proud To Beg and My Girl, which he pulls off in fine style.

 

The gig lasted over the 100 minute mark so you are getting value for money, as well as really being thoroughly entertained.

 

Remember the reference to the drums? Astley pounds them on the last song in the main set to (and I definitely wasn’t expecting this) ….  AC/DC's Highway to Hell!!  The rapturous crowd assisted Astley with the vocals in this more than acceptable version of the song!

 

After a brief interlude, Astley returns with the song that started it all, his world wide no. 1 hit,  Never Gonna Give You Up, as his final offering for the night.

 

Seriously, this is one of the best concerts I have ever been to and what better way to be Rickrolled than by the man himself!  

 

If you're up for a great time, a few laughs and a sing along, then Rick Astley is your man! 

  

 

© Paul Bartle 

 

* Superman is available on iTunes

 

You can still catch Rick Astley at the following venues:

 

25 Nov - Enmore Theatre

29 Nov - Kinross Woolshed, Albury

30 Nov - Palace Theatre, Melbourne

1 Dec - Chelsea Heights Hotel, Melbourne

 
 
 

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