Axl Rose may be filling in for AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson on tour these days, but if Axl ever gets too busy with that Guns N’ Roses reunion, Angus Young and company may want to consider enlisting Rick Astley instead.
Yes, that Rick Astley.
The ginger-haired mid-‘80s crooner is back in a big way. His eighth studio effort, 50, just became his first #1 album in the U.K. since his 1987 debut, and this week he played his first Stateside shows in 27 years, at New York’s Box and Los Angeles’s Troubadour. Along with new tracks, the requisite “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever,” and covers of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love,” Astley’s Troubadour comeback concert Thursday night featured a most unexpected encore: a soul-rock rendition of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” — with Astley behind the drumkit.
While “Highway to Hell” has been a staple of Astley’s sets over the years, seeing the smooth soulman play the hard-charging AC/DC classic at one of rock’s most hallowed venues – and at his first L.A. gig since 1989 – was a special thrill. And Astley, who actually got his start in music playing drums, was nothing less than a rock ‘n’ (Rick)roll force. Watch his full performance above.
50, which was entirely written and produced by Astley and features him playing every instrument, comes out in North America on Oct. 7.