Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rick's Rolling into Town to Entertain His Fans; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Catches Up with 80s Star Rick Astley, Who Plays a Free Gig at Bents Park in South Shields on Sunday

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rick's Rolling into Town to Entertain His Fans; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Catches Up with 80s Star Rick Astley, Who Plays a Free Gig at Bents Park in South Shields on Sunday

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON BARR

WHAT'S the weather forecast for Sunday? Will it be sunshine or will it be showers? If it does rain and you are a fan getting soaked in the crowd at Bents Park in South Shields, Rick has a little trick up his sleeve.

He doesn't want you to suffer alone, as he explains: "It's the bizarre thing with our country, you just never know what you are going to get weather-wise.

"You just have to see what happens. If everyone gets wet, everyone gets wet.

"One thing I have started - although I'm not going to hold this on myself as a promise - is soaking myself if it gets wet.

"I pour a bottle of water on myself, just so there's a sense of equilibrium between me and the audience instead of a sense of 'them and us'.

"It's all in the spirit of things. It's a bit difficult to stand there nice and dry when everyone else is soaking wet.

"I think outdoor gigs, when you do get a bit of decent weather, are really great.

"They have a great atmosphere and they're a bit more chilled-out. There's more of a festival vibe when it's outdoors. It adds a certain flavour to it."

A few years ago Rickrolling became an internet sensation, when the video of Rick's debut single and biggest hit, Never Gonna Give You Up, was 'reworked' for a new generation.

I suggest he now has a new army of followers as a result.

"I don't want to fool myself into thinking that to be honest," he laughs.

"I know some younger people are aware of who I am and Never Gonna Give You Up and maybe one or two other songs.

"I'd be a fool to think I've got a new legion of fans, that's for sure. I think there's some awareness of it, there's an ironic fun side to it.

"I think that's the best way for me to handle it really because once you start thinking it's cool, you're doomed.

"So I guard myself very well and don't get carried away that it was a bit of an internet sensation for five minutes.

"There are younger people in the audience, definitely, and I usually pick them out - single them out, stop the band and ask them what the hell they are doing there!

"It always goes down well. So if there are any young kids there, beware."

I've always found Rick a dream to interview. There's no ego, he's funny and he tells it as it is.

It's a far cry from his heyday when the pressures of fame saw him leave the industry.

"I don't mind doing interviews any more as we just have a chat. I used to do this all day, every day and that's just mind-numbing.

"I don't know anybody in the world who would want to do that because it's just sat in a room talking about yourself," he muses. "I do enjoy myself a lot more than I did back in the day because I have a bit more control over what I do and when I do it.

"It's not like being a control freak. I just say no to things that I don't want to do and that makes me comfortable. …

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