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Rick Astley full of surprises at Newmarket Nights as Never Gonna Give You Up singer gives July Course audience an evening to remember




I would never give up a chance to see 1980s heartthrob Rick Astley perform live, and at Newmarket Nights he certainly never let us down.

Inexplicably introduced by some bloke from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, who seemed delighted he had a half-cut audience to tell he had scored an interview with the man himself, the 55 year old took to the July Course stage.

And what followed was an evening of classic Newmarket Nights entertainment.

Rick Astley gave a classic Newmarket Nights performance on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Rick Astley gave a classic Newmarket Nights performance on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

"Any winners in the audience? We're all winners, we're all winners!" he declared, probably hoping to lift the spirits of the punter who sank his life savings on last place Reel of Fortune, before getting into the swing of things with absolute classic Together Forever.

But it's a this point I just couldn't get over what he was wearing. His salmon coloured suit appeared at first to be a brilliant white, before morphing back into pink. How did this even happen?

But then thought hit me. Would baldy Dan Barker look that good in a salmon suit now at 28, and what about 55? Knowing the answer was no my future flashed before my eyes, full of misery and regret already.

Rick Astley's backing singers were more than just in the background, taking centre stage throughout the evening. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Rick Astley's backing singers were more than just in the background, taking centre stage throughout the evening. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

Nevermind, though, because Rick and his amazing technicolour suit continued to smash out the hits.

As his suit changed colour again - turns out its the stage lights - She Wants To Dance With Me starts.

It's at this point you start to think, I know exactly why local radio introduced him: they’ve both not really changed for years have they and isn’t it just 50 year olds listening to them anywhere?

Rick Astley takes to the drums, the instrument he started his music career on, and performs AC/DC's Highway to Hell. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Rick Astley takes to the drums, the instrument he started his music career on, and performs AC/DC's Highway to Hell. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

But as the 1988 hit went on then I realised, actually, he’s kept his act well up to date and I was wrong.

His excellent backing singers almost barged in on him, taking centre stage with 2019’s Juice by Lizzo with Rick Astley enjoying the show.

Like pineapple on pizza, you wouldn’t think the two songs went together but they really do.

Rick Astley at Newmarket Nights on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Rick Astley at Newmarket Nights on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

The key to a decent Newmarket Nights act is to know, essentially, you’re like a pretty decent pub band at times.

Yes there are a lot of people there to watch you, but an awful lot are there for a laugh and it’s your job to gently guide them through the evening.

And Rick Astley knew this, at one point taking to the drums for AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, and another point giving us some Motown, and then somehow his hit Take Me to Your Heart is club classic We Found Love.

Rick Astley was full of surprises at Newmarket Nights on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Rick Astley was full of surprises at Newmarket Nights on Friday. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

Before he played the song he warned us his daughter wasn’t a fan. “Dad please never do it that way again,” she told him after first hearing it. “But like I’ve said before I’m 55, I don’t give a monkeys.”

Move over Rihanna, because this was banging. I’m afraid his Emilie is wrong.

A lot of people will know him from his 1980s hits and his new albums, but there’s a number of people who will only know him from Rickrolling - sending a link to someone of apparently something important, only for it to really be ex-Number One single Never Gonna Give You Up.

Before Rick Astley took to the stage, racing took centre stage at the July Course in Newmarket. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live
Before Rick Astley took to the stage, racing took centre stage at the July Course in Newmarket. Picture: Paul Lyme / The Jockey Club Live

Giving us a tease halfway through, he got the crowd to sing it themselves after he told the 500-or-so there for just that to go get a taxi because that was it.

At that point I was tempted - was that all we was going to get from his smash hit song?

But I am glad I didn't. His show was full of surprises for everyone to the biggest Rick Astley fan to those just there to watch a few races after work.

Perhaps learning from the Rickrolling phenomenon Rick Astley turned out to be the ultimate troll, through.

As his suit appeared to turn blue the song we all wanted to hear song came on. Even the teenagers in the crowd knew the rules and belted out Never Gonna Give You Up.

And thankfully, I didn't jump in a cab home.

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