We love some nonsense. Above all the statement shows and grandstand moments, what do we want more than anything? A bit of fun.
So when we hear that Rick Astley and Blossoms have decided to team up to do two special shows playing The Songs Of The Smiths, it’s clear why we’re a bit giddy with excitement. Not constrained by boring sneers or naysayers wanting ‘the real deal’, its purpose is clear. Having an amazing time without the added baggage that comes with a band clouded over by the actions of a certain frontman.
That celebratory atmosphere makes for an interesting mix. In Blossoms, you have one of the most beloved bands of the past few years, an undeniable force that continues to grow. Throw in Rick Astley – a true revivalist titan who has gone from global pop star to friendly meme to national treasure with ease – and you have the recipe for a golden time. The fact this show is in awe of the catalogue of a completely different band makes it feel like a big night down the pub with all your friends. It’s all for the better for it.
Any doubts over credentials are thrown to the side from the first note. Incredibly tight and full of joy, the likes of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, ‘Still Ill’ and ‘Ask’ set the standard. The dazzling heartbeat of a band like Blossoms seems ready-made for their role, orchestrating a greatest hits set of Smiths classics. ‘How Soon Is Now?’ is note-perfect, ‘Ask’ and its punchy kicks are served to perfection, and the likes of ‘Panic’ and ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ are met with such a singalong that they can still probably be heard in Kentish Town right now.
It’s all lead by Astley himself. Sounding as if he was born for this moment, he’s nothing short of phenomenal. ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ has him commanding the stage with ease, while main set closer ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ sees the Forum lit up.
It’s a night that highlights the timeless nature of The Smiths too. The sort of force that goes beyond being just a band, their emotional importance is only rivalled by how gloriously brilliant their songs still sound in 2021. Nobody has come close to matching that specific kind of magic since. An evening such as this being met with such unfiltered adoration throughout seems the ultimate compliment.
Beaming from ear to ear, the show’s warm heart is summed up by Astley as he addresses the room before closing the night with ‘This Charming Man’ and ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. “We had a mad dream, and the dream came true. It was worth it for me, and I have a feeling it was worth it for these boys on stage too.”
The future of this team-up may be uncertain, but that’s not the point. Pulled together by a sheer love of one of the most influential bands of all time, with a wink and a smile, it’s a gig designed to live in the moment. Pints in the air, throats well and truly hoarse – show us a better Saturday night than this.