In an unexpected twist that captivated attendees at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, the ever-resilient Rick Astley rolled into a surprise encore performance paying homage to his personal heroes, The Smiths.
Underneath the twinkling lights of the quaint Woodsies Stage, Astley united with the effervescent Blossoms to dive headfirst into The Smiths’ rich catalogue. They extracted sixteen timeless gems, delivering an audio retrospective that effortlessly encapsulated the band’s immortal legacy. The impassioned crowd responded in kind, belting out lyrics in a unified chorus without a moment’s hesitation.
This serenade of The Smiths is not uncharted territory for Astley and Blossoms. In fact, their collaboration had previously taken Manchester and London by storm in 2021 when they delivered two full concerts featuring an array of classic Smiths covers after initially dipping their toes into performing just a few songs.
This Smiths-themed collaboration between Astley and Blossoms has previously elicited varied responses from The Smiths’ iconic duo, Morrissey and Johnny Marr. While Morrissey lauded the tribute, stating, “Anything that generates interest in that tired old Smiths warhorse is testimony to the wallop it packed. THANK YOU”, Johnny Marr expressed more conflicted sentiments, labeling the spectacle as “both funny and horrible at the same time.”
A peculiar subplot in this unfolding narrative is the shared history between Astley and Morrissey, made evident when Morrissey decided to feature a vintage photo of himself alongside Astley on the sleeve of the reissued “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” single, replacing the initially planned portrait of him with David Bowie due to a feud.
At Glastonbury, Astley and Blossoms’ performance unfolded as a heartfelt celebration of The Smiths’ enduring influence, covering notable hits like “What Difference Does It Make?,” “This Charming Man,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” and “How Soon Is Now?” among others, all steeped in the comforting embrace of nostalgia.
Check out the complete setlist below:
Rick Astley and Blossoms — Glastonbury 2023
- “This Charming Man”
- “What Difference Does It Make?”
- “Bigmouth Strikes Again”
- “Cemetery Gates”
- “Hand in Glove”
- “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”
- “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side”
- “Girlfriend in a Coma”
- “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”
- “William, It Was Really Nothing”
- “Barbarism Begins at Home”
- “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”
- “How Soon Is Now?”
- “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
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