EVERGREEN pop prince Rick Astley had the Cliffs Pavilion crowd dancing in the aisles last night – 30 years after he first burst onto the music scene.

It is hard to believe that three decades have now elapsed since the loveable singer songwriter first burst into the big time with “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

It is testament to Astley’s longevity, versatility and above all talent, therefore, that now in 2017, he commands the kind of adoration and esteem that has seen him embark on a sell-out 21-date tour, which has come on the back of a successful number one record.

Astley’s album 50 released last year was a roaring success, selling 150,000 copies and it featured prominently in his vibrant show, which kicked off with the thumping “Coming Home Tonight” from the aforementioned album.

The strength of 50 is evident throughout the show as Astley’s belts out the tunes with his distinctive rich tones.

But he never loses sight of what his crowd also wants - his catchy eighties hits of yesterday.

The likes of “Together Forever”, “It Would Take A Strong Strong Man” and the unmistakable title track of his first album, “Whenever You Need Somebody”, all predictably go down a storm.

But Astley has never been one to sit still musically.

His willingness to cover tracks from other artists on stage shows a desire to consistently challenge himself musically.

His version of Ed Sheeran’s hit “Shape of You” has his audience in raptures, along with his energetic mash up of his 1988 track “Take Me To Your Heart” with Rihanna’s massive tune, “We Found Love”.

Many of the Cliffs audience members dancing along to those tracks might well have children familiar with the original versions but it is tribute to his musical aptitude that he can pull them off so well.

Indeed, Astley’s rapport with his audience and stage presence is engaging and you just can’t help but like him and his music.

“It’s about connection - about feeling what you’re doing is worth doing,” he exclaims and his stage presence is infectious.

As his set of nearly two hours draws to an end, Astley makes a point of saying he never takes his life for granted; to his fans, his humbleness and modesty are qualities as endearing as his music.

“I’m coming back, Southend!” he brightly exclaims, at the end of his colourful show.

On the evidence of this vibrant performance and the reception it received, he will be welcomed back with open arms.