The Foo Fighters Rickrolled the audience at Tokyo's Summer Sonic Festival when they brought Rick Astley up on stage to perform his classic pop anthem, "Never Gonna Give You Up," in the style of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. As it turns out, Astley was also booked to appear at the festival earlier in the day when the Foos approached him about Rickrolling the audience. Astley came out to the stage to a riotous crowd who knew exactly what they were in store for when Foo Fighters' front man Dave Grohl announced the pop singer's name, but what they got was a little different.
The video of the performance comes to us via Aaron Tan's YouTube channel and features a very enthusiastic Astley stroll on to the stage while Grohl introduces him and says, "I just met (Astley) two minutes ago." Grohl then launches into the chord progression to "Never Gonna Give You Up," but in the strumming style of his old band's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and drummer Taylor Hawkins comes in with the iconic drum fill of Nirvana's signature tune. "[email protected]!$ing nuts, You're nuts," Astley said after the incendiary performance as he walked off stage.
"Rickrolling" is a prank and internet meme that involves the unexpected appearance of Rick Astley's white boy soul anthem "Never Gonna Give You Up." The song is usually a bait and switch when trying to access unrelated material. The very first "Rickroll" is said to have occurred in 2007 from a 4chan video game message board to troll people into thinking that they were going to see the very first trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. By May of 2008, "Rickrolling" was a pop culture phenomenon with an estimated 18 million people claiming to falling for the prank.
Astley recorded "Never Gonna Give You Up" in 1987 for his album Whenever You Need Somebody and the song became an instant worldwide, number one hit, staying at number one in the U.K. for five weeks. The original video used for "Rickrolling" has been taken down several times due to copyright issues, but the current Vevo video has been up since 2009 and has been watched over 344 million times as of this writing, which is pretty amazing. Astley has even "Rickrolled" a few times over the year, but has only earned around $50 from the YouTube and Vevo views since he didn't write the song.
The audience in Tokyo definitely got to see a once-in-a-lifetime "Rickroll" last night, but this is not the first time that Grohl and the Foo Fighters have performed the song. The group lip synched a version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" on the back of a flatbed truck in August 2015 as they drove by the Westboro Baptist Church as they were protesting that night's Foo Fighters show in Kansas City. The "Rickroll" is still going strong after a decade and certainly shows no signs of stopping now. Check out the video of the Foo Fighters performing "Never Gonna Give You Up" with Rick Astley below.