When in London, one must make time for a proper show. Over the long President’s Day weekend, my show came in the form of ’80s British pop ginger Rick Astley. He was performing at the club Heaven and presented by the legendary West End club G-A-Y. What made the whole night massively fun was it fulfilled a fantasy of what it was like to party in London in the ’80s. All the music was throwback with the likes of Kylie and her shimmery “Better the Devil You Know,” Depeche Mode and “I Just Can’t Get Enough” and the quintessential ’80s London guilty pleasure Bananarama and “Venus.” It was amazing. And to top it off with Rick, well let’s say it would take a strong, strong man to admit his songs don’t hold a place in said man’s heart.
Rick performed four songs. He opened with “Together Forever” and “She Wants to Dance With Me” to a raucous crowd of bewildered and confused twinks, and a bunch of over-excited Gen Xers. I had two observations about Mr. Astley. He was the British equivalent to what Debbie Gibson was in the U.S. Gooey, teen schlock pop. He wrote all those silly songs, just like her, and they are still so much fun. My second observation is that Rick rolled into middle age quite well. He looked good, filled out, and sounds exactly the same. He’s still got that rich voice and it shined on his biggest hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” G-A-Y really couldn’t get much G-A-Y-E-R, but it did. He closed with his smash ballad, “Cry For Help.” If there’s one thing the gays do well, it’s cry for help.