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Rick Astley & the Blossoms (Smiths songs)

The Smiths are so finely woven into the fabric of Manchester music it's a brave task to cover them, especially when you're established artists. When it was announced that Rick Astley and the Blossoms would be doing a couple of dates playing songs by the Smiths there was a wealth of mixed reaction on social media. There was always going to be some form of negative reaction, especially when you're from the house of Stock Aitken and Waterman, which is seen by some indie, rock fans, and music journalist a curse on music. Fact of the matter is that Rick is huge Smiths fan, a fine singer with a great appreciation of music, and over the years has increased his fan base with generation after generation finding love for his his song Never Gonna Give You Up. He's even took stage with the likes of the Foo Fighters to the delight of a packed arena.

Manchester Albert Hall is a beautiful venue, previously a Wesleyan chapel, reinvented into a music venue catering for around 2000 revellers, The gig is sold out, and no doubt could've sold out ten times over. I'm sure if the band had wanted they could've moved the concert to any one of Manchester larger venues and sold it out, but this was the perfect stage for Rick and the Blossoms. Small tight and hot, the kind of venue where you find and fall in love with a new band. With the stage standing around six foot tall, looking over the dance floor and giving a great view to the balcony which was stretched to capacity, the band took to the stage. The audience was absolutely buzzing, and from the moment the first chord was struck every minute was enjoyed by all, even the biggest cynic would struggled not to have a good time. And that's exactly what this event was all about, a get together of fans appreciating the music of the Smiths.

For me from the very start all my ears could only comprehend that was this is a Smiths song with Rick Astley voice, and initially I was concerned this how I was going to see the whole evening. Gladly was wrong, by the end of the gig I had forgotten that these were the Smiths songs I had grown up with, and felt like these were ones Rick had been delivering for year.

Rick and the Blossoms delivered a great show, not that it came without issues, with Rick having monitor problems and on occasions not knowing the words to songs due to this. Not that I noticed, and when these incidents did occur Tom Ogden was on hand ready to cover them. Rick himself address this issue and thank the band, praising them for how brilliant they had been and how they're true professions knowing every line and beat of the Smiths songs without a monitor. Rick also reflected and joked about when he fell in love with the Smiths and how it's a pleasure to be here doing this for us all. This followed with a round of drinks being brought out and Rick toasting the crowd with the Blossoms, bringing a chorus for the audience egging Rick on to down his drink, which brought great amusement to the band. Rick entertained the crowded by downing his shot and throwing out the plastic tumbler into the crowd, which will no doubt be kept as a keepsake for many years by the fan who caught it.

By the end of the evening fans were on shoulders, mosh pits where created, and everyone who attended were having a fantastic time. It's safe to say that the event was a great success, and one worthy of repeat.

Set List

What Difference Does It Make?

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Still Ill

Reel Around the Fountain Cemetry Gates

Ask Hand in Glove

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

Girlfriend in a Coma

Well I Wonder

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now


William, It Was Really Nothing

Barbarism Begins at Home

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

How Soon Is Now?

This Charming Man

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

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