WHEN Rick Astley steps out in front of a home crowd to belt out the hits that made him a household name in the 80s he knows there are plenty who, just for a few hours, will be reliving the anthems of their youth.

And at the age of 48, he is self aware enough to know that he is probably among them.

Rick, one of the most famous acts of that era with hits such as ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, will make a return to St Helens later this month when he performs as part of the ‘Here and Now’ tour at Haydock Park.

He joins stars including T’Pau, Curiosity Killed the Cat and The Christians.

Speaking to the Star, Rick, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows, explained the appeal of the 80s tour: “For most people this is a trip down memory lane. My generation were close to our musical idols of the 80s. These days teenagers don’t go down to the shops to buy records. Now it’s gone beyond downloads with YouTube and Spotify. We do get some younger people coming to the 80s nights. Sometimes when I play on my own I stop the band and ask certain people what are they doing here when they’re in their 20s. I’ll ask: are you on your mum’s ticket?

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“There’s definitely a love for the 80s but I can see the 90s coming soon. Rave will also make a comeback. People get to a certain age when they may have young children and that consumes you. Then you are not going to gigs because it’s not your priority. Then the kids get a bit older and you can start going back to concerts. But I think we all want to relive our youth. I do on stage. I’m aware that I’m 48. I’m not fooling myself.”

He admitted that there is an extra buzz when he returns to perform in his home town. “There are certain gigs when I don’t know a soul and in a way that’s quite nice. You don’t have to make sure they have a cup of tea or a beer. But on the other side it’s nice on your own patch when people come along and you can say hello. I could be on stage and look into the crowd and think ‘that’s what’s her name?’

“There is an element of nervousness playing that close to where I’m from.

“But when you’re on stage it doesn’t really matter where you are. If I’m honest I get paid to hang around and travel. It’s not the gigs. I do it for the fun. I’m very lucky to do the singing.”

Rick Astley performs at Haydock Park on Saturday, June 21.