Watching the boyz grow into men

The first time I saw Boyzone perform at the Point, they were just five wide-eyed kids starting out on a big adventure

The first time I saw Boyzone perform at the Point, they were just five wide-eyed kids starting out on a big adventure. They faced the spotlight like rabbits caught in the headlights. They danced like they hadn't yet discovered their feet, and they sang ineptly over a backing tape. The fans didn't care - Ireland had its answer to Take That, and no-one was going to take that away from them. Last night, Boyzone were back in the Point, playing their umpteenth show there, only this time there's no Take That standing in their way, and the boyz have since become men. Like, they've got facial hair and stuff. The fans, on the other hand, don't seem to have aged a day. There must be something in the Ribena which keeps a Boyzone audience looking perpetually pre-pubescent.

Boyzone have grown up a bit in the past few years, and their stage show has grown with them. A thunderous synthesiser rumble swells up through the Point, and a troupe of dancers roller-blade onstage in the smoky half-light, beating out a rhythm like some futuristic Pringles ad.

The band (yes, they have a live backing band now) crank up, two big doors slide open, and Boyzone bounce onstage in gold-hued combat fatigues, coming on like a bunch of bronzed Action Man dolls.

Boyzone have notched up a number of hits in the past three years, so the crowd is spoilt for chart-topping choice. A Different Beat, Love Me For A Reason, Words and Baby Can I Hold You are instantly recognisable, but don't ask me about songs like Paradise, Heaven Knows or One For You, One For Me - ask my more knowledgeable companions, Jenny (10) and Sarah (8).


Lead vocalist Ronan Keating is confident as he leads Shane, Keith, Mikey and Stephen through hits like Father And Son, So Good and Picture Of You, while Stephen gets a chance to stretch his high-register voice on Shooting Star, from the soundtrack of the Disney film, Hercules. Boyzone may have started off as a bit of a cartoon, but they've since made a smooth transition to live action.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist