Foo Fighters have always been about having fun and their London O2 show was no exception, with the band Rickrolling their fans with a surprise appearance by Rick Astley, who sang his signature song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The band mashed up Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the chords to Astley’s hit, while the ’80s star added a little touch of rock ‘n’ roll to his normally smooth vocals,
The whole collab worked surprisingly well, and fans in the stadium loved it, going absolutely nuts while the band clearly had the time of their life. As you’d expect for the original meme-worthy song, fans online loved it too, viewing the clip 9.1 million times, as you can see below.
Astley was 52 at the time of the performance and had already retired from music once by that point, but the English pop star’s voice was still absolutely on point. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl had a huge smile on his face the whole performance, clearly enjoying surprising his fans with the rock and pop crossover.
Somewhat surprisingly, Foo Fighters and Rick Astley have quite a history together. Grohl has shared the stage with him numerous times, most notably when the Foos and Astley spontaneously played “Never Gonna Give You Up” live in Tokyo. Astley has also returned the favour and covered one of the Foo Fighters songs, this time in the studio. You can see Astley covering the Foos hit “Everlong” in the video below, which was also a hit online, gaining 5.3 million views.
Astley accompanied himself on acoustic guitar while performing “Everlong”, and played the song surprisingly faithful to the original recording. He does however add a bit more vocal firepower and dynamics to the song, making for a really beautiful cover.
While talking to Virgin Radio UK, Astley revealed that his first performance with the band in Japan was completely spontaneous and unrehearsed. The singer explained that he was on the same lineup as the Foo Fighters in a festival in Japan. He added that he stood right at the side of the stage for their set, as Foos members Grohl and Taylor Hawkins are two of his favourite musicians, because “somewhere in my DNA I’m a drummer”, referring to his start in music as a sticksman.
Astley said that a Foo Fighters roadie came over, gave him a mic and said “Dave wants you onstage.” The pop star added that he was jet-lagged and was a couple of beers down by this point, but he wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. Astley then revealed another curious detail, saying “somehow they’d learned “Never Gonna Give You Up” and they’d jammed it”, with the idea of potentially getting Astley to sing it at the festival.
Astley concluded the story by saying “so I ended up singing to 50,000 people with the Foo Fighters on a weird and wonderful version of “Never Gonna Give You Up”. It was proper nuts.” He then gave a language warning for anyone who was going to look it up on YouTube, saying “there’s quite a bit of swearing at the beginning of it, because I just lost myself in that moment.” If you would like to see more from Foo Fighters, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Instagram.