Gig Review: Karaoke Boyz fail to sparkle

BOY BAND: Boyzone are marking

Chris Wasser

SHANE Lynch does the most peculiar things with his hands, as if he's trying to tie an invisible bow. And don't get me started on his pre-recorded vocals (come on, we're not stupid).

Still, Lynch's flamboyant showmanship is not the strangest thing about this 20th anniversary tour for Ireland's second-biggest boy band. That honour falls to Keith Duffy, whose taped recital of Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night will have me scratching my head for days.

There's a lot of chit-chat. Twenty years of Boyzone! Gone in the blink of an eye! Here's to the next 20!

Now on their fifth album, BZ20, Boyzone are still a reasonably big draw. A cordoned-off section of the O2 suggests otherwise, but hey, when the lads finally make their entrance, the response from every corner is deafening. Dressed like they've just come from a wedding, and surrounded by an ensemble of scantily-clad female dancers, they're in good form, too.


Their hair is fabulous. Save for poor Mikey Graham (dude looks like he just woke up), they're in decent shape, too.

A segment that involves the group sharing a bottle of wine and toasting their deceased band mate and 'brother' Stephen Gately is both well-delivered and remarkably touching. That the kings of karaoke appear to have a great deal of fun on stage makes it easier to stand. Well, sort of.

See, Boyzone always were, and always will be, dancing in the shadows of the far superior Take That. What we expect is an explosive pop extravaganza with plenty of heat and lots of fireworks, but what we get is more of a novelty night out for the ladies, with tepid dance sequences, naff love songs (Love Me for a Reason, Love Will Save the Day), leather pants, monotonous banter, and one cringeworthy yuletide number (The Hour Before Christmas).

Duffy and Lynch? Handsome bookends. Mikey Graham? A croaky pub singer. Ronan Keating (only real vocalist here) does an acceptable job, but you'd almost feel sorry for the guy.

There's only so long Boyzone can continue to rely on one member to do the heavy lifting. Nice try and all, but another 20 years? I wouldn't bet on it.