Rick Astley opens UK’s new biggest indoor arena in Manchester, after some test gig tickets were axed for fans

Music

Rick Astley performed at the Manchester venue Co-Op Live in Manchester over the weekend.

The star played as part of a test event on Saturday (April 20) ahead of the official opening of the 23,500 capacity venue tomorrow (April 23).

The new venue, which is the UK’s largest indoor arena, is located opposite Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, and features a “unique bowl design” that will bring fans “closer to the artist than at other arenas of equivalent size”, according to a spokesperson.

Ahead of Astley’s performance, bosses at the venue apologised after some tickets were axed ahead of the show in order to reduce the capacity to 11,000.

“To enable us to test the spaces effectively, we have made the difficult decision to reduce overall capacity for today’s test event,” a Co-op Live spokesman told BBC News.

Tickets have instead been offered The Black Keys on April 27 “as a gesture of our appreciation”, the spokesman added.

The show saw Astley perform a host of his classic hits including ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ along with Sam Fender, Harry Styles and AC/DC covers. You can view footage below.

Peter Kay will officially open the venue tomorrow. Liam GallagherTake ThatNicki MinajOlivia Rodrigo and Keane are among the acts who have been announced to perform at Co-Op Live in the coming months. It’ll also stage the 2024 MTV European Music Awards later this year.

Recently, Co-Op Live and the existing, 21-000 capacity AO Arena in the city came to blows in a licensing row. ASM Global, which operates the latter venue, objected over “public safety” concerns and accused the application for a licence as being “simply unlawful”.

Despite the row, the venue officially had its licence granted last month.

Meanwhile, a band recently went viral for sharing a cover of Wheatus’ hit ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ in the style of Astley.

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