It’s tipping down in Leeds but that doesn’t stop Yorkshire pop fans from streaming into the First Direct as British pop icon Rick Astley struts into town for the latest date on his UK arena tour.

These fans know that a fantastic night is guaranteed when Rick is around but tonight we get the added bonus of the brilliant KT Tunstall to warm them up for the main course. Although a household name to pop fans, the singer-songwriter still admits to fans that when she got the call from Rick Astley to open for him, after two years in lockdown, the answer was a bit of a no-brainer. Joking that you couldn’t turn down a man who counts Dave Grohl as a friend, Tunstall is in fine voice with her energetic, rocky tunes setting things up nicely. Mobile phones light up the arena and with the likes of “It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am” making sure Thursday night in Leeds was going to be party night, the rubbish weather was all but forgotten.

KT Tunstall Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

Rick Astley went through something of a resurgence in popularity a few years ago packing fans into arenas across the UK. Tonight is no exception but what makes his popularity more impressive is the fact that, as you cast a gaze around the venue there are fans of all ages, young and old in their seats ready for the return of the pop legend.

Making a simple introduction, Rick walks out onto the stage and, under a single subdued light, belts out a pianoforte rendition of his hit single “Never Gonna Give You Up”. A totally different approach to his hit single, these fans need not worry though because they were treated to the pop hit in all its up-on-your-feet dancing glory at the end of the set.

Honestly though, it doesn’t take long for Rick to have the crowd on their feet. With little encouragement needed from the pop superstar, fans are quickly up and dancing as “Keep Singing” gives way to another of his mega-hits “Together Forever”. Illuminated by a huge video screen, the singer is a ball of energy as he covers almost every inch of the huge www. Waving to fans, encouraging them up out of their seats, even some venue staff were seen having a little dance.

As for the set, it’s another career-spanning collection from the pop favourite with all the usual favourites there including a raucous “This Old House” along with “Lights Out”, “When I Fall In Love” and “Pray”. The main set closes with “Try” before Rick returns closing out the night with “Angels By My Side” before, and with the assistance of a good few thousand fans, bringing the house down with a rousing “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

A few weeks early, Rick Astley joined the Blossoms for a tribute night to Manchester indie band The Smith but here in Leeds, this was all about Rick Astley and he certainly didn’t leave one single fan disappointed.

Rick Astley Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

Set List

Never Gonna Give You Up (pianoforte)
Keep Singing
Together Forever/Beautiful Life
She Wants To Juice
This Old House
Strong Man
Ain’t Too Proud
Hold Me In Your Arms
Lights Out
When I Fall In Love
Watermelon Sugar
Cry For Help
Whenever You Need Somebody

Angels On My Side
Never Gonna Give You Up

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