16 September 2017
Boyzone completed a short late-summer tour at the 3aaa County Ground in September. The boys are currently working on a new album to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2018, with the promise of a full arena tour.
Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham, Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch treated their fans, old and new, to some of their best known songs from the past 24 years. After lively renditions of Picture of You and Love You Anyway, Ronan thanked fans for their warm welcome and “for still believing in us after all this time.”
More hits followed before Keith commented that they had had fantastic weather for the four nights of the tour, something he accredited to their missing member, the late Stephen Gately. “When we are together, Stephen is with us,” he said, before introducing Gave It All Away.
When I interviewed Mikey, ahead of the show, he said that his only regret is that Stephen is not still with the band after his untimely death in 2009. “We were rehearsing yesterday and I haven’t worked with them for, probably, two years or so. We were doing a song called Gave It All Away, which Stephen did a vocal on,” he said, with an inevitable hint of sadness in his voice, “and when his vocal was playing on a backing-track that we have, it just hit me again, how horrible the situation is, and was. I can’t believe we lost Stephen, he should have been here with us.”
Mikey went on to recall what it was like to be part of a phenomenon like Boyzone in those early days.
“It was great fun. There was lots and lots of hard work which I don’t think we imagined, because most people think that if you’re a pop star you’re just living the high life and doing nothing else. Really, its 24-7. We travelled all over the world, non-stop, and we were lucky to get one, maybe two, days a year off, at that time.
“It was incredibly hard work but we didn’t experience it as people on the outside would because we were contained within this bubble, just the band, the manager and the tour manager, a close-knit little circle that were protected within. This bubble used to float from city to city every day doing another TV show, another radio show, travelling on trains, planes and automobiles, we didn’t witness it from the same perspective as other people around.
“I don’t think that until we broke up in 2000, and had some time out of the band, and away from it, that we began to absorb just how successful the band had become. Even now, I’m still blown away that we did all of that and travelled all of the world. I travelled the world but I didn’t see anything at that time, just from hotel to hotel and airport to airport. Looking back, it’s something that we hold very dear in our hearts, the experience, the mania of it all at the time was just crazy.
“I had to go travelling again on my own, after 2000, to actually see these places that I went to, to absorb the culture of each place and what they had to offer. I was very much open to that. From ’93 up until 2000, we didn’t have the time. I’m glad I got to do that, and here we are again – out and about! It’s good fun, though.”
The youngest of seven children, Mikey was influenced by the music being played by his older siblings. “The music I grew up with was people like the Police, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Janis Joplin, all of these. I loved grass-roots music, all the folk and rock, and that was what made me want to be a singer and musician in the first place. I began to play a guitar at 15 and progressed from there into a couple of rock bands.
“It was quite unusual, an unlikely move for me to be in a pop boyband. I was a fully qualified motor mechanic, at the time, and I had my green card to go to America in the summer of ’94. Then I got a call from Louis to join the band and we had a hit single in Ireland with the old Detroit Spinners track Working My Way Back To You. Once that happened everything took off for us. The record company in the UK offered us a global 5-album deal.
Back on stage, Ronan asked if any of the fans remembered the Smash Hits Tour that gave Boyzone their first break in the UK? “We returned to headline the tour the following year,” he added, before the boys sang All That I Need which featured on that tour.
Keith also recalled some 26 appearances on Top of The Pops which led to Boyzone releasing the album track Father and Son as yet another hit single.
A lively show, full of fun, the boys closed their main set with Who We are, before returning for an encore of A Different Beat and Rollercoaster, joined by ex-Westlife member and special guest on the tour, Brian McFadden
Picture Of You
Love You Anyway
Baby Can I Hold You Tonight
When The Going Gets Tough
You Needed Me
Gave It All Away
One More Song
All That I Need
Love Will Save The Day
Father And Son
Love Me For A Reason
No Matter What
Who We Are
A Different Beat
Please follow the link to the Derbyshire Life website for the full interview with Mikey Graham.