Saturday 20 January 2018

Boyz are back in town but show falls short of great

Boyzone in The O2, Dublin
Boyzone in The O2, Dublin


While Take That can comfortably sell out Croke Park, their Irish counterparts have a hard job putting bums on seats in their hometown.

This opening night of their UK and Ireland tour sees Boyzone play to a significantly reduced capacity O2.

Their second coming has failed to capture the imagination of the public in the way Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams did with their band but, then, even when they were popular they were seen as a poor woman's Take That.

This tour is all about celebrating Boyzone's 20 years in the business and they dip into their seven albums.

As ever, it's Ronan Keating and Mikey Graham who carry the vocal component of the show, with Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch throwing shapes that are slightly more sophisticated than those first aired on that infamous early 'Late Late Show' appearance.

Keating and Graham are best suited to the high-energy numbers such as 'Picture of You' and the Billy Ocean cover, 'When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going)'.

They are on less sure ground with ho-hum ballads like 'Ruby' although there is a spark of something on the Beatlesque 'Everything I Own', in which Graham takes lead vocals.

There's a heartfelt section midway through the show in which they pay tribute to their former colleague, Stephen Gately, who died tragically in 2009.

A table is produced and the four sit around, "drinking" glasses of wine while reminiscing about a man who grew up just round the corner from the O2.

Noticeably, the pyrotechnics that have become de rigueur at pop gigs are eschewed in favour of a simple stage production featuring six female dancers, the aforementioned backing singer and a band that stay in the shadows at the back.

It's quite a dated, cheap production, and yet it adds a certain charm to proceedings.

Irish Independent

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