Westlife and Boyzone were my generation’s One Direction. My high school classmate and neighbor, Iyhang, and I used to listen to her CD collection while working through our mountains of homework and house chores. We even challenged ourselves to write lyrics of the songs, one line after the other, in our old notebooks.
Some years have already passed and my musical taste has changed; however, listening to Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy crooning to the songs I grew up with catapulted me back to the days when I was young, not-so-wild, and free.
The Boyzlife performance in Kia Theater started with a crowd-pumping Westlife song, When You’re Looking Like That, followed by a Boyzone hit, Picture of You in My Mind. They continued with World of Our Own, with the audience chanting and dancing with them.
At this point, I realized that Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy make a good duo. Brian certainly had done his homework before performing; he sounded the same live and it was a treat listening to him singing the more difficult parts of the songs.
Keith, on the other hand, provided harmony to the songs and charmed the crowd, capturing the hearts of the ladies by taking his own selfie with the audience’s phones on stage.
The boys also performed slow tracks like Words, Swear It Again, Mandy, Baby Can I Hold You —which I confess is my favorite Boyzone song— and You Needed Me. As I watched Brian serenading the ladies in the front row with Queen of My Heart, I remembered how Iyhang and I wrote lyrics of those songs in my notebook when Google was still an alien thing for us! It is not an exaggeration to say I mentally kicked myself for forgetting to download a complete discography of Westlife and Boyzone.
Who would need a reason to love Love Me for a Reason and If I Let You Go more after Boyzlife’s soulful rendition? I had goosebumps everywhere when the whole theater rang with Flying Without Wings. How could this song give me the same chills I had when I first listened to it in high school?
Perhaps the part I liked best about the concert was how Brian and Keith coaxed the audience to sing, to which we willingly obliged.
That two members of bands I used to listen to could bridge generations and gender gaps was a whole new kind of cool.
It was heartwarming when people of different ages and genders belted their hearts out with every song. I was almost sure that I would only see people my age in the audience; but families – from grandparents to their teenage grandchildren – were there. Men who occupied seats behind me even sang along to Uptown Girl.
Keith mentioned that March 2018 marks the 25th year of Boyzone in the industry and Brian remarked how fast time had flown by that their young fans turned into beautiful ladies. My taste in music has definitely gone a different turn throughout the years, but one live performance like this is all it takes for me to remember and look back: Where the skies are blue, see you once again, my love.
Boyzlife performed at Kia Theater on December 4, 2018.