OK, so the title of their comeback tour, ‘Boyzone: Back Again… No Matter What’, did not bode well. Rather than ‘Back By Popular Demand’ there was an apologetic tone that suggested they weren’t confident that their return would be welcomed.
However their gig at the Millennium Dome last night (I refuse to call it the O2 – I dread the day when all London’s buildings are named after corporations) proved that they had nothing to worry about.
Now, as a veteran of their 90s tours, I can say that according to any standard their show is better than anything they’ve put on before. Their concerts always used to be a little slapdash, but they’ve clearly put a lot of time, effort and money into this venture.
The audience was treated to pyrotechnics, glistening abs, and a stage that by turns span, flew, and dropped away.
Of course I’m no neutral observer: I was there to spend a couple of hours regressing into naive teenage hysteria, and to see the band that was such an important part of my awkward adolescent years. For any Boyzone fan it was a delight to see the band so clearly enjoying being on stage, especially compared with their obvious boredom during the dying months before their split.
I also enjoyed the fact that the concert wasn’t just the Ronan show – all of the band got their chance in the spotlight, without it ever feeling forced – No more Good Conversation (you know what I’m talking about Boyzone fans). They were always more than the sum of their parts, a fact that was proved by Ronan’s lacklustre solo career. The biggest surprise was Shane Lynch singing Michael Jackson’s Bad – where that voice came from I have no idea, but I liked it! Also impressive was Mike’s turn on the piano during words. They’ve all really upped their game.
Highlights were the retro gym rendering of When the Going Gets Tough (pictured above for your enjoyment), their first performance of And I, and Stephen Gately’s irrepressible enthusiasm.
They also unveiled their new single Can’t Stop Thinking About You, an excerpt of which I managed to shakily record (I think it’ll demonstrate Stephen’s aforementioned performance zeal). It’s catchy I think:
Only two minor complaints: Father and Son was accompanied by a really creepy animation, and they didn’t play either of their best up-tempo tracks – So Good, and Together – the latter being particularly fitting for a reunion tour. Other than that, I’m looking forward to seeing the show again later in the tour: after eight years of absence once just isn’t enough!