Main Stage Saturday, 13 July
Even in the ultra-competitive field of standout Glastonbury debut sets, Rick Astley’s first ever show on the Pyramid Stage was something else. After the epic march of the Star Wars theme got the show underway, the puckishly boyish 57-year-old bounded on stage with an impish charisma that complemented the seasoned soul of his voice. The crowd-pleasers came thick-and-fast: the ‘80s classics Together Forever and Whenever You Need Somebody, fan favourites from his chart-topping 2016 album 50, and typically classy covers of Harry Styles’ As It Was and AC/DC’s Highway To Hell (with Rick doubling up on drums). By the time he brought the house down with - what else? - Never Gonna Give You Up - the modest Saturday lunchtime slot had become an unofficial second legend slot and the talk of the nation. And he wasn’t done there. Later that day, he was back up on stage with Stockport indie band Blossoms (“They’re actually younger than my daughter!”) to tear through a celebratory, life-affirming set of classic songs by The Smiths. As The Guardian’s five-star review questioned, “What could be a greater RickRoll than the idea that Astley can so convincingly portray these dour anthems of self-loathing just as smoothly as he did Never Gonna Give You Up on the Pyramid hours prior?” By the time the weekend was over, Rick had effectively conquered Glastonbury. Or in the words of Dermot O’Leary: “Up until today, people thought that Brinks-Mat was the biggest robbery in UK history, but that has just changed as Rick Astley has just stolen Glastonbury!” Or, in short, it was proof that Rick Astley is back! No, scratch that. It was proof that Rick Astley is still here, still moving forward and always guaranteeing entertainment and joy on record, on stream, on radio and on stage. But now he's pushing to even greater musical heights.