By Tania Fairthorne
Artist: Ronan Keating
Date / Venue: Friday November 4th, 2016 - Vector Arena, Auckland
One of the things I really appreciate in a performing artist of Ronan Keating's calibre and experience is the ability to get people up and moving, put on a show for the masses and still look like they're enjoying themselves, while presenting themselves to their dedicated fans in a manner where it doesn't look like just another day at the office. Tonight at Vector Arena, Ronan was not just talking and interacting with the crowd for the shows entirety (in fact at one point he apologised for talking too much), he also got down in amongst the crowd and seemed to be honestly enjoying himself. So even though I've heard from a little birdie that Ronan doesn't read reviews, I'll say thanks to Ronan. It was nice to see your 'engagement & hear your fun side', it made for a really good show that I have nothing but positive things to say.
After a very warm welcome by Auckland's (mainly 35-45 year old woman) who had settled to a hush after the initial cheers, Ronan thanked everyone for coming and told the crowd the things he most loved about New Zealand; "The lovely Manuka honey, red wine, Rugby but mainly the people... always the people".
The audience hung on Ronan's every word as he chatted for a while about the songs we were in store for and his new album, the writing of his album in his kitchen, a few dad jokes... then waving his arms gesturing the crowd to get up on their feet (which they did) he sang a song inspired by his wife In Your Arms. Throughout the night the audience heard old and new songs spanning an impressive career 23 years old ....always with a story, a couple of covers with Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl and of course Cat Stevens Father & Son; which Ronan told everyone how he loved that song since he was 7 and about how eventually he ended up recording this with Cat himself... the audience sang along loud and clear.
The vibe in the air was truly positive. During a comedic re-arrangement of his bands on stools he re-created his kitchen at his home (how he and his wife or his band would sit drinking tea, writing music for the latest album, which was made over a period of a year). Ronan at this point took the time to introduce and speak about all of his band members most of which he's played music with for over 17 years. Ronan's band are individually so talented, together they are tight, their sound is excellent, and they have a bloody good time doing it. Fabulous!
There were more hits, some more people waving their arms, people professing their undying love, some more jokes and finally after a couple of hours the show came to an end with a very steady and long held note, which was quite impressive. Ronan sang ....."Did Auckland want him back?" The crowd went wild, so he sang "I guess i'll be back New Zeeeeeeaaalaaaand" Thumbs up Ronan and band, keep doing what you do!