Ronan Keating live is an experience. He’s got this intriguing Frank Sinatra/Frank Woodley hybrid thing going on. His crooning credentials have never really been in question, but I didn’t realize how… bouncy he is. He clearly has to move to the music, and it makes for one highly entertaining, invigorating show.
The concert was opened by his long-time, Dublin-based friend Sharon Corr of The Corrs fame. Along with a mix of favourites, including Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime, So Young, and Dreams, Corr also wowed the capacity crowd with some instrumental pieces that showcased her extraordinary talents as a violinist. There is something very haunting, soulful and sexy about a beautiful woman playing the violin; Corr was captivating.
This theme was continued by Keating’s band, four tanned Aussies playing strings in stunning black ball gowns on a raised platform at the rear of the stage. However, apart from this Australian contingent, the night was an all-Irish affair. Both Keating and Corr’s bands featured traditional Irish instruments, including Uilleann (Irish) pipes and the Irish whistle, and some extraordinarily talented band members who played a multitude of instruments, often in quick succession.
Keating did, in fact, give the very appreciative audience a few seconds of Irish dancing that almost brought the house down. And therein lies his charm. The combination of smoldering good looks and slick dance moves with a self-deprecating sense of humour (when Burt Bacharach called he assumed it was his brother winding him up), boyish grin and love of bouncing around the stage, clearly loving what he does, makes it impossible not to like him. My companion for the evening walked into the show not a fan and walked out as one. Keating’s talent is undeniable and his twenty years of experience on the stage is evident in every confident, entertaining gesture.
The Bacharach songs were the stand-outs of the night, with that style very complimentary to his voice (although it’s hard to imagine his voice not suiting most styles). Naturally, hits like When You Say Nothing At All brought the capacity crowd to its feet. He had some fun with that song, adding an extended note to rival Leonard Cohen’s in Hallelujah. And the Irish whistle was a beautiful addition. As the show went on and Keating mixed things up with old Boyzone songs, favourites from his solo albums and even a song (plus footage) from his up-and-coming new movie Goddess, the crowd ended up surging forward to the front of the stage. As Keating leaned down to touch the outreached hands of his fans, it began to feel like the wrong venue. The man needed a stadium.
Keating is a treat live. See him if you can. Just please try and refrain yourself from recording the entire performance from the front row with your iPad. Yes, I saw this, and I just can’t imagine in what universe it will ever be okay.
Ronan Keating Australian Tour 2012
Venue: Regent Theatre | 191 Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: 5 – 7 Feb, 2012
Thu 9 Feb Royal Theatre (National Convention Centre) ACT
Fri 10 Feb WIN Entertainment Centre NSW
Sat 11 Feb Newcastle Entertainment Centre NSW
Mon 13 – 14 Feb Adelaide Festival Theatre SA
Thu 16 Feb Kings Park And Botanic Garden WA