With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Rick Astley – First Direct Arena, Leeds – Thursday 29th October 2021 November 8, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:05 pm
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Regular readers might think a Mr. Astley gig is a strange choice for me, but I have never been averse to a blast of decent pop music as long as it is good. Was it good? Well, you will find out later in this review, but first I need to tell you about the wonderful stellar support act, KT Tunstall. Earlier this year KT cancelled her summer shows due to concerns about her hearing, but she is most definitely back now. Armed with a guitar, effects pedals, and supreme looping skills (her faithful loop pedal even has a name, “Wee Bastard”) she won the crowd over quickly and we stayed with her for her whole set, clapping, singing, and dancing throughout. All the hits were on show including two particular highlights for me in “Suddenly I See” and “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree”. She also stormed through a haunting and emotive cover of the late, great Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.

This gig has been a long time coming, thanks to Covid. I bought tickets as a Christmas present for my wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman for Christmas 2019. The show was, like many others, rescheduled, postponed and rescheduled a few times. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely, Rick is a perfect performer. He is comfortable with his pop past and his newer songs show the depth and real soulfulness of his voice. A huge shout out to his fabulous band and the amazing backing singers. Obviously all the early hits were there, including a double dose of “Never Gonna Give You Up”. He kicked off the show with a softer, jazzier excerpt from it and then, as expected, closed the encore with a full everybody on their feet and dancing version. “Keep Singing”, “Beautiful Life” and “Cry For Help” were highlights for me and really showcased what an incredibly talented vocalist Rick Astley is. Meanwhile his cover choices were inspired, “When I Fall In Love” (which was expected) and a superb and authentic rendition of the Temptations classic, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. But to top both of those Rick did a a gorgeous and at times ethereal cover of Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar High”. Not only is Rick Astley a great singer and performer he also comes across as a really decent bloke. If the opportunity arises I will definitely see him again!

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