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'Words' are not enough as Boyzone bid fans a bittersweet goodbye in poignant final concert

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Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy of Boyzone on stage last
night. PHOTO: STEPHEN COLLINS

Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy of Boyzone on stage last night. PHOTO: STEPHEN COLLINS

Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy of Boyzone on stage last night. PHOTO: STEPHEN COLLINS

Boyzone bid a rousing but emotional farewell to fans at their last ever Irish concert at Dublin's 3Arena last night.

"It's good to be home!" declared Keith Duffy to rapturous applause.

The Dublin four-piece, made up of Duffy, Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham, took to the stage as part of their 'Thank You & Goodnight' farewell tour.

For those who have followed Boyzone from their humble beginnings on 'The Late Late Show', through six studio albums, two dozen hits, solo careers, and the tragic loss of Stephen Gately, the night was a fitting book-end to a 25-year career. The venue was packed to capacity as fans were eager to catch the guys live for the last time in their hometown.

The audience, who gave the foursome a deafening welcome when they first descended from the ceiling clad head to toe in black and diamanté, was a mix of those original 20-, 30- and 40-something fans and a younger generation who seemed just as beguiled by the lads' repertoire of ballads and upbeat pop.

Ronan said: "The four of us, the five of us, want to thank you. In 1993, we were babies we were kids. We've lived the dream. They say you'll never work a day in your life if you're doing the job you love and we have never worked a day in our lives thanks to you guys."

Boyzone have waved goodbye before, when they originally split in 1999, but they came back with a bang in 2007. This time, Graham insisted this week, it is "definitely the end" for Boyzone.

As such, the concert was tinged with a sense of sadness, and made all the more poignant with a tribute to Gately, who died in 2009 at his home in Majorca from an undiagnosed heart condition.

However, their former bandmate was very much a part of what was a very special gig as his vocals appear on their new single, 'Dream'. Recording it, they said recently, was a "bittersweet experience".

That's exactly how fans would likely describe their 3Arena concert last night.

Traversing a quarter of a century of hits, from 'Words' to 'Love Me For a Reason' to the closing 'Picture of You', and paying tribute to Gately with 'Dream', the night was everything a farewell concert should be.

Irish Independent