If you thought Boyzone plans to slow down after over two decades in the music industry, think again.
At its 25th anniversary concert at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil last week, lead vocalist Ronan Keating announced that the group is planning to release its final studio album Thank You And Goodnight in November, and will go on a world tour starting January next year.
“You do want us back here, don’t you?” Keating asked the energetic crowd.
Boyzone performed for the first time in Malaysia back in 1998, and this is its third stop, after Singapore and Jakarta, for the anniversary concert.
“We’re going to take you back to the 90s tonight, when it was a special time for music. You had your Backstreet Boys and N*Sync, but Boyzone will always be your first love, right?” said Keating, to loud cheers from the crowd.
The concert opened with the popular Picture Of You, setting a fun, relaxed and enjoyable tone for the night, followed by Love You Anyway, Love Is A Hurricane and Baby Can I Hold You Tonight. There was nary a break in the set, as Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch kept the momentum going, one song after another.
It is evident that Duffy and Graham have stepped up as vocalists for the band after the passing of former member Stephen Gately.
“It has been nine years since he left us, but every time we perform, he’s always there with us in spirit,” said Duffy about the tribute to the group’s fallen brother.
Boyzone performed Everyday I Love You which featured a recording of Gately’s vocals, and played a montage of happier times with the original member of the group.
The members had the help of a female backup singer throughout the 90-minute concert, and they engaged the crowd frequently, sharing anecdotes about their time in the band.
“This is the song that took us places. We flew to Australia to record the video and it was the first time that we sat in a helicopter. It’s a special song for us,” reminisced Duffy before the quartet broke into Isn’t It A Wonder.
The usually reserved Graham spoke too, and it was the most many of the fans must have heard him speak. And boy, does he have a thick Irish accent! Graham has improved vocally and it was pleasant to hear him sing the opening lines of Ruby, a song off its 2010 album Brother.
The tough and macho Lynch addressed the fans for a bit, sharing stories about the song Because that will be featured in its upcoming album.
“We worked with Ed Sheeran on that song, and as much as I would love for Ed to come up on stage with us … he’s not here. Sorry,” he teased the crowd. The four of them got the audience to sing and clap along to the uptempo tune, before slowing things down with fan favourites Love Me For A Reason and No Matter What. They ended the set with Who We Are before quickly bidding goodbye and disappearing off the stage.
Thank goodness the crowd knew how to work the “we want more” jig and did not embarrass the band with silence, or worse, walking away from the stadium as if the concert had ended.
The quartet came back on stage to properly end the show with A Different Beat and Life Is A Rollercoaster before bidding proper farewell to the fans and with a promise to come back again soon.