Ronan Keating. Virgin Money Unity Arena. 11.9.20

As a male teenager in the 90’s I was brought up to believe that pop was passable if it was sung by lads who looked like they could hold their own in a fight. Consequently East 17 became Top dogs, Take That were second, and Boyzone came last; they had good pop tunes but were too clean cut.

Carrying on his twenty-year journey from pop star to ‘proper‘ musical artist, Keating takes to the stage decked out tonight with a 4-piece band, rock star poses, lived-in vocals, a crew cut and bad-ass jewellery. He looks tougher than ever. He also happens to sing pop better than ever.

Heavily leaning on classic Boyzone tracks, and pieces from his debut solo album, Keating gives the crowd what they seem to want tonight; plenty of reminders about youthfulness, plenty of moments to get up and dance, and plenty of opportunities to sing along during ballads.

It’s unlikely that Keating’s performance is improved by his edgier-as-he-gets-older style, but it seems to help make the teenager in me feel better when admitting to enjoying the show.

If only he still did ‘When the going gets tough’…

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