The crowds of excited women of a certain age making their way to a rugby stadium on a summer’s evening – with just a few browbeaten boyfriends and husbands tagging along – could only mean one thing: they weren’t there for the rugby! And Friday 14 June 2013 witnessed the second instalment of this year’s Live at Kingsholm concerts, headlined by none other than Ronan Keating who was kicking off his Fires summer tour in the city.
Ronan had tweeted before the show that the ‘sun is shining’ in Gloucester and he couldn’t wait to perform. However, by the time he strode onto the stage, it was looking more than just a little overcast. Some of the crowd had prepared for the inevitable wet weather, others were ready for a Friday night out after the show, but most weren’t going to let the rain spoil their evening.
Those few of us lucky enough to win a meet and greet with the man himself saw a quiet and shy side to the famously confident performer. Ronan chatted about Gloucester Rugby and his favourite books with the excited fans backstage, signing a few autographs and posing for some photos, before he was quickly whisked off to make the short trip from dressing room to stage (by car!) – opening the show with the title track of his latest album Fires.
Although Ronan first shot to fame almost 20 years ago with Boyzone (does this man not age?), concerts like this prove his ‘stickability’. And his tell-all interview with Piers Morgan last year seems to have re-kindled the support of any sceptical fans, with a top 10 album and sell-out tour quickly following.
Dressed all in black, his blond hair getting slightly windswept as the weather closed in, Ronan belted out ‘Lovin’ Each Day’ followed by ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and although the boyband dance routines are a thing of the past, he still added the odd bit of gyration to keep the audience reminiscing.
The banter between songs was kept to a minimum, apart from a few compliments to the ‘beautiful’ crowd – there wasn’t even any McFly-style reference made to The Divine Burger stand! But the screaming fans seemed content enough with him saying simply ‘good evening Gloucester’.
A moving performance of ‘Scars’ as the rain started to fall was slightly interrupted by the opening of umbrellas, or in my case an attractive disposable poncho, yet Ronan didn’t let this phase him and praised the crowd for their energy and enthusiasm despite the drizzle.
The audience was a little smaller compared to the McFly crowd of the night before, but Keating fans are a dedicated bunch, many knowing all the songs word-for-word, even the lesser known, and rather lovely, ‘Easy Now My Dear’ and ‘Wasted Light’.
But the hits that really stole the show were, quite predictably, his two biggest solo numbers ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ and ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’, the latter having the audience jumping and screaming like it was 10 years ago. The catchy tune was still being heartily sung by fans as they left the stadium on their way to sample Gloucester’s nightlife, or in my case, home for a cuppa.
By Laura Tomkins
Wednesday 19 June 2013
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