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24 September 2014

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Ronan Keating gives it some welly at Blickling.
Ronan Keating gives it some welly

Ronan Keating at Blickling

The final night of Blickling Hall's picnic gigs was handed to former Boyzone member Ronan Keating. Although wine bottles were swapped for hots flasks, the wet weather failed to dampen the crowd's mood, writes Rob Sykes.

It may have been mid-July, but that didn’t stop the good old British weather doing its best to put a dampener on proceedings.

Rob Sykes gives the show 4 out of 5 stars.

Approaching Blickling by car, the roads were treacherous, with water pooled on the back roads. The rain seemed to intensify the closer to Blickling you got.

Descending into the park you were greeted by an almost comical sight. Thousands of people hadn't been put off and a sea of multi-coloured umbrellas, tents and gazebos showed that the weather was no match for good old British ingenuity.

Like Glastonbury for ladies of a certain age, all sorts of methods for keeping dry were employed.


Support was provided by the Irish sounding singer-songwriter Beulah. Hailing from the Peak District, her dulcet tones were reminiscent of Norah Jones or a toned down Joss Stone. Her songs are undoubtedly well-crafted and she can sing but it was all a bit lost on a wet Norfolk evening.

The PA didn’t do her any justice. The subtle sound of her tracks didn't carry well and would perhaps have been better suited to a small, intimate setting. Of course, if the weather had been more fitting her laid-back summery sounds may have gone down a treat!

Beulah tried her best to warm up the crowd.
Beulah did her best to warm up the fans

Beulah is undoubtedly talented and could become this summer's Norah Jones. Expect her debut album Mabel And I to steadily climb up the charts.

Rain stops

The weather finally started to ease up and the rain stopped – just as Ronan came on stage. Co-incidence? He would have you believe otherwise!

"Sorry about the weather," he apologised to the crowd. "I tried to get through to the Big Man but couldn’t so I called Bono instead. He said he’d see what he could do." Is there nothing the U2 front man isn’t capable of!

Headline set

He opened with several of his lesser-known songs, but the gig really warmed up with a superb performance of If Tomorrow Never Comes. He did attempt to include the crowd with the chorus but they failed miserably – may be they were yet to warm up.

People began to abandon their make-shift bivouacs and venture out. The expanse of umbrellas was soon replaced with a bobbing tide of sparkling Ronan cowboy hats and flashing glow sticks - all available from the merchandise stall, of course.

Funnily enough the concessions which seemed to do the most business were the tea stall and the wandering pac-a-mac sellers!

The contrast with the previous nights crowd couldn’t have been greater and Ronan unintentionally picked up on this with his recounting of a gig he played to an audience intent on eating their picnics. He wasn't happy apparently! Perhaps it was a good job it rained.

Boyzone hits

The highlight of the night, as far as the crowd was concerned, came when he played three songs from his Boyzone days.

Still promoting his 10 Years Of Hits album, he took the time to justify his inclusion of these tracks.

Ronan's fans take shelter.
Ronan's fans shelter from the rain

While undoubtedly a great performer, he is not yet a showman and there were lulls which slowed the evening down.

However, he soon picked it up again with accomplished renditions of Words, Baby Can I Hold You and the ever-poignant Father And Son.

The highlights though were the amazing voice of backing singer Trisha, used to good effect on the duet We’ve Got Tonight, and the bizarre and enjoyable cover of Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl.

Despite forgetting the lyrics halfway through, Ronan showed he can cut it as a solo artist by laughing it off and recovering without losing a beat.

Ronan was backed throughout by an accomplished band and by the time he played Life Is A Rollercoaster it was easy to see why his career post-Boyzone has lasted.

Sure, he missed a few cues but it was a fun performance: the crowd was entertained and despite the weather people were dancing and happy. With a new album out early next year, it’s easy to see why Irish eyes are smiling.

Ronan Keating and Beulah played at Blickling Hall on Sunday 24 July 2005.

Picture credits: Woo Back.

last updated: 27/07/05
Have Your Say
What did you think of the gig? Can you spot yourself or any of your friends in the gig gallery?
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stacey hunter
i think he is so nice
Tue Sep 26 10:15:12 2006

Debbie Winter
First time at a gig like this, Ronan made it a day to remember. Brilliant as usual. Not even the weather could spoil it. Don't agree with your review. Outstanding performance Ronan.
Tue Aug 23 12:34:12 2005

Clare Peachey
I went to the Blickling Hall concert and I thought it was great, even if it did rain.
Fri Aug 19 15:38:28 2005

Ryo Smith
The gig was stunning..Ro was absolutely perfect on his performance.
Sun Jul 31 18:27:43 2005

Aimee Gooch
You are so sexy. Your concert at Blickling Hall was brill!
Sat Jul 30 11:35:45 2005

Linda Reynolds
Ithought the gig was fantastic and most enjoyable and being just down the road from my home made the evening more enjoyable he is a gr8 singer with a gr8 talent and hopefully will carry on entertaining us all 4 years 2 come
Thu Jul 28 22:20:40 2005

Clare Donegan
Tricia was fantastic,what a voice.Deserves a gig all to herself!!
Thu Jul 28 19:59:18 2005

Sandy Bunt
Sorry, But your review is not an account from where we were standing we arrived at 3-30; and was entertained by each other, and the sprits were high. The Gate's were opened early; we all had a Fantastic time, and would do it again even if it rained. I agree with the previous comments. Ronan Keating Entertained us and we got value, that goes without saying. If Your reporter was miserable because of the weather it's not fair to blame it on Ronan.
Thu Jul 28 08:22:55 2005

steph barson
I survived queuing in the rain for 7 solid hours and then another 3 hours at the barrier to see ronan keating perform at blickling hall on sunday - centre front row! I have to say that his performance was fantastic - i really do not see where ur reviewer is coming from ! the bz songs were not the highlight, the songs at the beginning are not lesser known (to real fans) and there certainly werent any lows or lulls to the evening ! do u think 10,000 ppl would have braved the weather to witness the kind of performance u describe? i dont think so.
Wed Jul 27 10:47:26 2005

Jill from London
After a long drive and a few hours of waiting in the cold and rain I was eagerly awaiting Ronan's appearance on stage. I wasnt disappointed he gave an absolutely brilliant performance. I have seen Ronan in concert before but he seems to be getting better and better. A true entertainer that really knows how to play to his audience and get their participation. Will definitely be a show I will remember for a long time. Would be lovely to see him back at Blickling again on hopefully a more summery evening.
Tue Jul 26 21:44:12 2005

Alison Russell
having just read the article above by a so called reporter i have to take issue with several of the comments made, firstly the crowd of which i was one, did not fail to sing back the chorus of If tomorrow never comes, it was done brilliantly and with gusto as usual! Secondly the highlight of the evening was not the BZ songs he sang although these songs always go down well with the fans his solo stuff is wot people go to hear! Thirdly the crowd at the gig were of all ages children up to elderly people all enjoying wot was a fantastic gig and not just women of a certain age as was suggested in fact i was pleasently surprised at how many men were there. All in all it was another brilliant performance by Ronan,a really enjoyable nite if a bit wet!!!
Tue Jul 26 21:17:28 2005

amanda mcloughlin
Thanks for the review , Ronan always puts on an amazing show , rain or shine !! will u be putting the concert on this site so we can all relive the gig once again ?
Tue Jul 26 20:40:22 2005

Nicky reed
I was lucky enough to be at the front along with loads of die-hard Ro fans and I loved every second he was there. He was stunningly gorgeous with a voice to match. I notice this site review said that people failed to join in with the singing....were they deaf? I sure heard it loud and clear where I was. In my opinion Ronan is the perfect showman- has a voice and looks to die for,is cheeky and sexy without being cocky and both him and his band look happy and he always has a lovely rappor with the crowd. even the fact that he fluffs a few lyricks just adds to his charm. I would watch him any day.
Tue Jul 26 20:22:26 2005

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