Boyzone's Singapore show: A fun and moving farewell



The Star Theatre/Wednesday

From the mostly in-sync dance moves to the colour-coordinated outfits and four-part harmonies, Irish group Boyzone's Singapore farewell show was a nostalgia-filled and crowd-pleasing jaunt through their 26-year catalogue of hit songs.

The quartet, comprising Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch, are set to disband in October after their worldwide Thank You & Goodnight Farewell Tour ends.

At first, however, it seemed like a two-for-one boy band concert, with fellow Irishman and former Westlife member Brian McFadden opening for them.

He almost threatened to upstage the main event of the night with his stand up-worthy retorts and mock chiding of concertgoers who came in late. And his singing was most impressive, carrying off soaring Westlife tracks like Swear It Again and Uptown Girl all by himself.

But Boyzone would not be outdone. From original numbers like No Matter What and Everyday I Love You to covers of Bee Gees' Words and Tracy Chapman's Baby Can I Hold You, they were a force to reckon with on the ballads.

It was also apparent that Keating, the most ruggedly handsome of the lot, still had the best voice. He carried most of the lead vocals along with Duffy, who was not as on form.

On uptempo classics like All That I Need, Love Me For A Reason and When The Going Gets Tough, there was plenty of comical dad-dancing from the guys who came across a bit out of practice, but it did not seem to matter to the crowd of mostly young professionals and middle-aged fans.

Perhaps the most powerful and moving moment was when the band took a moment to remember former member Stephen Gately, who died in 2009.

After a video clip of the late singer, the band huddled around a singular spotlight to perform Dream - a song Gately had originally recorded as a demo for his solo album in 2002. The band reworked the track, added their own harmonies and included it on their seventh and final album, Thank You & Goodnight (2018).

There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd after Duffy explained: "We made a pact that we would never do a show without having a bit that was a tribute to (Stephen)... He's here with us all tonight."

Gately's sweet voice played over the sound system as the band launched into Every Day I Love You and Key To My Life, singing along with him.

The concert was as much a journey through their career as it was a chance for them to have fun with their fans. At one point, they pulled members of the audience on stage for a group picture and, towards the end, Keating stood on seats amid the crowd to sing his solo smash hit, Life Is A Rollercoaster.

The concert ended with Picture Of You and, just for a moment, it felt like we were back in the peak Boyzone era of the 1990s.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'A fun and moving farewell'. Print Edition | Subscribe