Brighton Centre, ★★★✩✩
RICK ASTLEY has been an overnight sensation, a one-megahit wonder, a viral meme, a punchline, an early retiree, a comeback flop — and survived the lot. In 2016, he brought out his first self-penned material in 15 years, and it was rather popular. So he made another album this year, Beautiful Life, and that was reasonably well received, too.
Now he’s back touring. The voice — that warm, rounded, punchy baritone — sounded as strong and smooth as ever. His patter between numbers had a self-aware charm as he pitched himself part-way between ex-pop star and Northern variety club act. It was only when the show itself started to meander down the latter route that it lost momentum.
One senses the inevitable big finish is for him more an obligation than a joy. ‘You know the rules, and so do I,’ came his knowing introduction before Never Gonna Give You Up. While he had to deliver on that one, he could have afforded to break more of them beforehand.