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Review: Rick Astley, Forest Live, Cannock Chase - with PICTURES

By Doug Wootton | Cannock | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

As I soaked up the last of the sun on a fine Staffordshire evening on my way to see an 1980s pop legend, I considered who might be in attendance alongside me at the second day of the Forest Live festival.

For those born in the 1960s and 70s, Rick Astley was a huge pop star. For those born in the 80s they'd probably only know his most famous song, whilst those born in the 90s would know Rick mostly for 'Rickrolling'.

The internet phenomenon in short would see people tricked into clicking on a link which they think is unrelated to Rick Astley, but ends up taking them to the YouTube video of Rick's most well known hit Never Gonna Give You Up.

The trend was so widespread that the video has now reached more than 330,700,000 views on YouTube, bringing him another generation of fans in the process.

I was one of those of the hundreds in attendance that fell into that category of audience members, admittedly not being an in-depth fan of the 51-year-old.

What instantly became apparent is his vocal strength. As he belted out numbers off his platinum number one album 50, released last year, it's clear his voice has responded well to being stretched again after many years off the live circuit.

One could also make comparisons to the similarly powerful, soulful voice of Tom Jones, who closes the annual Forest Live festival with his headline slot today.

Rick, alongside his two female backing singers, gave pitch perfect delivery of his 80s hits Hold Me In Your Arms and Whenever You Need Somebody, which stand out as highlights from the gig.

With a dry sense of humour, the crowd also lapped up the northern singer-songwriter's banter between songs.

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Dressed in plain dark clothing and looking young for his age, there were very candid moment too, as he talked about a song he wrote after being angry with aspects of society and the lack of identity he's felt in recent years as a 'middle aged 80s pop star'.

As the temperature began to drop and the full moon sat bright in the sky, the swaying during songs turned into full on dancing as Rick covered Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You with even the police officers on site not being able to resist having a shuffle.

With song requests from audience members who'd got in touch on social media, there were nearly 20 songs before he reluctantly left the stage.

He came back for two encores and of course he had to finish on Never Gonna Give You Up, which sounded as good as the record and got everyone singing, ending the night on a high.

Ordinarily there should be some pun relating to Rick and that certain song around about here, but I was Never Gonna... do that.

Doug Wootton

By Doug Wootton
Wolverhampton Reporter - @_DougWootton

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