REVIEW: Boyzone - Opera House, Blackpool

Boyzone perform in Blackpool, left to right, Shane Lynch, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy and Mikey Graham.

Boyzone perform in Blackpool, left to right, Shane Lynch, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy and Mikey Graham.

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It doesn’t feel like 20 years ago that you’d sit by your tape player of a Sunday evening frantically trying to record your favourite pop song from the Top 40 countdown.

Back in the heyday of Irish boyband Boyzone you were reliant on tapes and posters for your outpourings of love.

Ronan Keating

Ronan Keating

Now, as they embark on an anniversary tour, BZ 20, technology has moved on to instantly recording the heartthrobs on your iPhone and tweeting it instantly - #boyzone #babes.

Nevertheless, their appeal still holds true.

Blackpool’s near capacity audience in the Opera House raised the roof for Boyzone’s visit to the resort, with the crowd revisiting their younger years to scream until they’re hoarse.

And the ‘boys’ seem to have genuine affection for Blackpool in return - “it’s a magical place,” says Ronan, “always a pleasure to play.”

Boyzone perform in Blackpool

Boyzone perform in Blackpool

Ronan naturally takes the lead and can still, at 36, make women swoon.

But also credit where it’s due for Mikey Graham, once the ‘quiet one’, who has come into his own for the 20th anniversary tour, leading chats and songs.

The foursome take time between songs, from their first albums and the latest, BZ 20, to chat and share anecdotes.

“It’s a smaller audience so more personal, we can see your eyes,” says Keith Duffy.

There are, of course, many references to Stephen Gately too, the band’s fifth member who died suddenly in 2009.

Recordings of his almost angelic voice still fills the 3,000 capacity venue and the remaining four tell of how they know he is there with them in spirit.

As well as stories of his “tremendous character” they tell of how much he loved Blackpool, trying to win toys on the arcades and going on the rides.

Now they’re looking forward to the next 20 years together. A scary thought if that means spending my 40s still screaming at strangers, but thrilling nonetheless.

Katie Upton