WHEN I saw that the wonderful Gabrielle was supporting tonight, I made sure I set off early to catch the entire support set.

An artist that has produced a number of songs that have stood the test of time and still sound as fresh today as they ever have. Her voice has the power to take me back to distant times and she could be filling the venue on her own. She delivers a lovely set of songs that set the tone for the rest of the evening.

After a short break, Rick took to the stage to the delight of the crowd. First up were Try, This Old House and one of everyone’s favourites Together Forever. By the time the second song was over he had everyone on their feet. From the front row to the back of the balcony the majority of the crowd were singing along and dancing which was pretty much the theme for the evening.

The set list was a well balanced mix of old favourites and songs from the new album Beautiful Life all delivered in a voice that has not only stood the test of time but has matured and improved over the years. The evening could have come to an unexpected early end when he sang a song he wrote for his wife who was in the audience. He was brave enough to dedicate it to all of the other women in the crowd and then promptly forgot the words, a move that he got away with during the gig but there may have been words afterwards.

The light show delivered a full on arena scale set up and was a real contributing factor to the success of the evening. The same can be said of the work of the sound engineers who got the balance just right.

If you hear the name Rick Astley and immediately think of 80s pop and bad dancing then you really should go and see the man now. He has matured into a fine soul singer who has produced two excellent albums in the last few years. Yes he played Never Gonna Give You Up and yes it received the biggest cheer of the night but there is so much more to see and hear.

Make sure you go next time you have a chance.

Review by Lynn Francis