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I never imagined my 2023 would involve so much Rick Astley, but here we are at the Royal Albert Hall… and I’m not mad.

I never imagined my 2023 would involve so much Rick Astley, but here we are at the Royal Albert Hall… and I’m not mad.

Rick Astley at Royal Albert Hall

From doing Jaeger Bombs on stage and getting the crowd to chant ‘fuck it’ at a minor hiccup along with him at Glastonbury, I was intrigued to see what was in store at the Royal Albert Hall.

Never in a million years did I think that Rick Astley would be such a prominent object on my radar as he has been this last year, but I’ve somehow managed to see him more than many other artists.

At 57, you’d think it’d be challenging to reinvent himself as a must-see for millennials, stir some of the biggest chatter at Glastonbury. After seeing him last night, however, this isn’t a reinvention; it’s just what he’s been doing all along.

His amiable nature just exudes this heartwarming enjoyment, as if you’re watching your nephew play his air guitar for the first time – apart from Rick is actually talented.

Last night wasn’t for the new, pissed-up fun lovers, though. No, his performance at the Royal Albert Hall was for his lifelong mega fans – and their disgruntled husbands. It was a heightened nostalgic release with body movements not too far from a live exorcism.

The whole night was a romantic montage scene. Estranged friends meeting for the first time in years, dancing to their common love in life, Rick Astley. Pent-up lust released that had been bottled up since adolescence; it turns out this magnetic charm wasn’t only reserved for Elvis. Nor was the luscious hair.

There are only four things Rick Astley worships: his wife, his band, his audience, and his hair. 

So much so that he attributes his success to his hair. I’d personally attribute it to his infallible ability to not take himself too seriously and do whatever he thinks he’ll have the most fun doing.

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He apologised before playing his new songs, he said his backing singers were better than he was and openly called out that half the blokes there were dragged along.

This is what makes him great. It’s a northern self-deprecating humour that probably doesn’t translate well with Americans, but you cannot help but love it. You’re almost wanting the songs to end so you can hear more of his jokes. 

He just loves to take the piss. Out of himself, the audience and his music. How can you not connect with that? 

It’s why he remains relevant. A star from the 80s still commanding large crowds and recruiting new fans, not because he’s changed, but because he’s remained unapologetically true to himself.

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