Growing up in the ’80s, it was impossible to avoid the massive success story of a young English Popstar with striking good looks and an equally pleasing voice. Rick Astley topped the charts in 25 countries with his smash single Never Gonna Give You Up, followed by a string of successive hits Together Forever, It Would Take a Strong Man and She Wants to Dance With Me.
While musical tastes shifted in North America, Astley still continued to be a huge force in Pop overseas before retiring in the mid-90s to focus on starting a family. He resurfaced in the early 2000s and now celebrating his milestone 50th birthday earlier this year, he finds himself once again atop the charts once again with his latest disc 50.
While largely Adult Contemporary, the collection released domestically by Warner Music Canada, does not ignore his Dance-Pop roots, remaining soulful and rhythmic. Two singles, Keep Singing and Dance have been met with positive response.
Astley treated Toronto Fans with a rare opportunity to see him at intimate The Phoenix Concert Hall tonight. Other stops include New York City, Los Angeles and Nashville. The self-admitted fearful flier told the audience that he’ll actually be driving to his next stop in Nashville and just this weekend drove-in directly from New York with a quick stop in Niagara Falls along the way.
Plugging through an almost two-hour set of material combining covers and his extensive catalog of hits, Astley not only looks but sounds just as great as he did when he first emerged.
The enthusiastic crowd was responsive start to finish as he gave us hints of his true musicianship on guitar and drums, while self-deprecating about his own dance ability.
Quite the showman, he entertained the audience with funny, expletive-filled anecdotes and humbly he thanked Fans for showing up in these baseball-obsessed times whilst celebrating Thanksgiving at once.
We met Astley before his Show and he was positively delightful taking a moment to shake hands and take Selfies. He even took off his glasses for the Snap!