You kind of get the feeling that maybe at least one or two of the Foo Fighters were Rick Astley fans at one point or another, or still are. The idea that they could come up with this song on the fly isn’t too much of a stretch, but it also begs the audience to be a little more naive than usual. It’s a great effect, but understandably Astley’s voice seems to give out during the course of the song. I kind of wonder if he’s ever had to sing that song this quickly or with that kind of force. Fans were enthused enough to make it entertaining but throughout the performance the reaction became slightly less than overwhelming as Astley continued to fade out.
He was trying, you can give him that. Live concerts aren’t always going to pack the same punch as recorded music, largely because the venue is so much different and the acoustics are a lot more unpredictable. If you’re in a wide open space the chances are that the sound will become extremely diffuse and give the impression that it’s fading out. Should you perform in an enclosed space the sound can either hammer into the crowd or it can reverberate off the surroundings giving it a distorted and somewhat discordant quality.
In this case it really sounded like the band and Astley were fighting against the acoustical quality of their surroundings, which obviously weren’t that great. I dislike being a critic of performances most times, especially when something this special comes into play, but as wonderful as the collaboration is it wasn’t quite as as believable or as impressive as it could have been.
For one, how often does Rick Astley just ‘show up’ at Foo Fighter’s concerts? Is he waiting in the wings at times? Is he a fan? Do they let just anyone backstage? Astley still has the kind of celebrity status that should allow such a thing to happen, but it seems a little suspect that something so spontaneous would just occur. Again, I’m being a critic and I shouldn’t be, but despite the visual and audio treat that was given to the audience I still have to think that this was planned out far more than Dave Grohl would have us believe.
The spontaneity of it can be believed in the regard that Astley didn’t really seem fully ready to get on stage and perform, but Grohl and the band might have been. It could have been a one-way surprise that the Foo Fighters pulled on Astley, since it’s hard to believe that they just picked up the song on the fly and went with it. I might not be in a band but preparing for something and knowing how to sync up in advance is something I do have experience with. Â In order to get that song down right and be able to hit their marks without fail the band had to know that song.
So yeah, it could have been a spur of the moment thing so long as the band knew the song and of course, knew that Rick Astley was in the building. Otherwise it was a little contrived. I mean it had to be to make everything work like this.