I presume the organisers were expecting to sell out the entire theatre. But given the time they spent promoting the show, seeing the upper chamber completely empty wasn’t a surprise.
Thankfully, the quality had no relationship with the turnout. I could only guess the boys were disappointed. But none of that translated to their performances.
When I come to a boy band reunion, I’m expecting to hear the classics. The group was responsible for music I grew up listening to. Their videos were played nonstop on MTV. Even the local radio countdown had them at the top of their charts. And I was an avid voter responsible for some of their placements. Heck, even Mr Bean wouldn’t be complete without its soundtrack.
Thankfully, they delivered. While Boyzone played new singles, they gave fans what they yearn for the most. The entire set lasted for more than 20 songs filled with songs from the 90s. They selected my personal favourites – “No Matter What”, “Love Me for a Reason”, and my all-time #1, “Picture of You”. They even threw us a bone by including Ronan Keating’s biggest hits as a bonus.
Watching them on stage was a trip down memory lane. While the band’s stamina to do synchronised dance steps isn’t at its peak, I appreciate the effort. Ronan Keating laughed as he forgot the lyrics to “Coming Home Now”. The choreography of “A Different Beat” seems awkward but the crowd went along anyway.
Sharing anecdotes was in abundance – the Bee Gees complimenting them for their cover of “Words”, performing “Father and Son” at the Top of the Pops the night fatherhood became a reality for Keith Duffy, and hearing stories of people having sex to their music. The nostalgia helped the night reach greater heights.
If I had one gripe about the show, it was the constant reminder from the band that they were embarking on a farewell tour. Regardless of finality, watching them live was a big deal. But reinforcing this repeatedly added no value except to make us appreciate the experience (which we would regardless). I do hope they change their minds eventually.
The show’s best moment was the Stephen Gately tribute. More than a decade has passed since the musician left this world. But his role in the concert continues to be important and integral.
I started bawling when the video montage for the deceased legend played. The foursome followed this up with performances of a few tracks. They kept his recorded vocals intact and played alongside the group singing live. The commemoration lasted for at least three songs. However, the impact was long-lasting. As I write this review, the memory continues to break my heart and gets me teary-eyed.
The entire gesture was moving and classy. Acknowledging his talent and contribution was a given. But the way they preserved his identity as a homosexual man deserves props. In an industry out to shred every ounce of his privacy, I’m comforted by the fact that the foursome supported Stephen on his personal journey. Not only was he a member of a successful boy band. He was part of a loving family. Hats off to the boys!
It’s clear they are past the boy band phase of their lives. But should they decide to reunite again, they can expect us to welcome them with open arms. Just because they’re leaving doesn’t mean we are letting them go.