Boyzone: This is not the end!
The Irish group promises to be back in Manila

“Tonight is the last night of our Asian tour. What a way to finish! What a way to wrap it up! Tonight, you’re gonna hear songs from the last 25 years!”

That was Ronan Keating who, along with the four remaining members of Boyzone, greeted last night’s massive crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena. This marked their 25th anniversary of the band, and brought an end to their “farewell” tour.

Two hours of powerful performances by Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham, and Shane Lynch brought the audience on its feet, laughing, getting teary-eyed. Everyone was singing along to the group’s hit songs starting with fan favorites “Picture of You,” “Love You Anyway,” and “Love Me for a Reason.”

Ronan Keating and Keith Duffy. Duffy sang most of Stephen Gately’s parts throughout the concert and was teary-eyed while singing “Every Day I Love You” with the group (Photo from Ovation Production). (Banner photo credit: from Kris Rocha)

Going Down Memory Lane

It was in 1993 when the Irish boyband was first introduced to the public. The group would reach remarkable fame outside of Ireland and Europe, with some of their songs taking the number one spot in the UK Charts. But after six years together, the members decided to split in 1999 and pursue individual projects. It took seven more years before Keating, Duffy, Graham, Lynch, and the late Stephen Gately decided to reunite.

Boyzone re-emerged in 2007 in full force. By 2008, the group started touring again. A year later, tragedy struck with the death of Gately. Understandably, the loss of their other lead vocalist dealt a major blow to the group, but the boys bounced back by releasing a new album in 2010 as a tribute to their late member.

And at last night’s concert, Gately’s presence was felt in every song and message from the other members. Duffy shared to the crowd that something remarkable happened during their performance.

“It’s great to be here. When the four of us are together performing onstage, we really feel that Stephen Gately is still with us. He’s still with us in spirit. And something very peculiar happened to all of us while we were sitting here. It was really an amazing moment. It’s quite emotional, actually.”

Local balladeer Christian Bautista opened the show and admitted that he’s a Boyzone fan himself. He later sang with the group with Ronan Keating saying “This guy can really sing!” (Photo by Kris Rocha).

Apparently, Stephen had always loved butterflies. Duffy continues, “And when we were going to our first tour after we lost Stephen, we were in the middle of rehearsals and we were all a bit sad. It was new to us to work together without Stephen. Then one day, in the middle of rehearsals – this butterfly just flew through. And we kinda felt that that was Stephen, and that he’s still with us. He was showing us a sign to tell us that he’s still with us. And it’s the last night tonight and we just sat there singing ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ and a butterfly just flew onstage! So we know that Stephen Gately is in the house tonight! And he’s here with us! We love you! We miss you!”

The strong emotion felt by the members and everyone in the audience continued throughout the night, especially when the group was singing “Every Day I Love You,” with Gately’s images shown onscreen and his voice heard throughout the arena singing his parts of the song.

This Is Not The End

As the concert came to a close, Shane Lynch announced their upcoming album “Thank You & Goodnight” in collaboration with singer/composer Ed Sheeran, all the while consoling the crowd with this message, “This is not the end, this is the beginning of 25 years, all right?!”

The group ended their show on a high note with a series of “battle” songs: “Who We Are,” “A Different Beat,” and “Life is a Rollercoaster.”

Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham (Photo from Ovation Production).

Though the fans were sorry to see their favorite group say farewell, Keating’s closing message brought smiles to everyone’s faces.

“Thank you for 25 years. You gave us life, you gave us love, you gave us passion. You gave us everything! It has been spectacular! The next 12 months for Boyzone are very special. The album comes November. It is our final record but it’s probably our best piece of work ever. So please get yourself involved. Have a listen to the record. I’m sure there’s something in there for everybody in this room. I believe it. And we’ll see you, I believe, next year I hope in Manila, one more time!”

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