Photo gallery: Boyzone at Thetford Forest

Boyzone in concert at Thetford Forest, Norfolk. Photo: Lee Blanchflower/Blanc Creative Boyzone in concert at Thetford Forest, Norfolk. Photo: Lee Blanchflower/Blanc Creative

Saturday, July 12, 2014
10:59 AM

It is more than 20 years since a group of young Irish boys from the north side of Dublin burst on to the music scene to become one of the most successful boybands of our era.

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But at Thetford Forest last night, as part of the Forestry Commission’s series of Forest Live shows, Boyzone were as fresh as ever. And one thing they have certainly honed to perfection over the past two decades is slick timing, pitch-perfect harmonies and great choreography.

With Ronan Keating’s voice as unmistakably soulful as ever, ably backed-up, and in some cases led by band-mates Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham, an excitable Norfolk audience danced and sang along to many of their greatest hits.

There was never any doubt that friend and former band member, Stephen Gately, was sorely missed. They said recently that touring in 2011, two years after Stephen’s sudden death from an undiagnosed heart condition, was “too soon”. But that on their current BZ20 tour, a celebration of their 20 years in the industry of which a packed Thetford crowd was privileged to be part of, the timing feels right.

They are a far cry from the raw group which made an inauspicious start in 1993, leaving viewers of Irish television’s The Late Late Show doubting whether they would survive a week in the pop industry.

But they proved the doubters wrong, going on to sell 25 million records.

The going has been tough at times, but they have come a long way indeed.

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