Ronan Keating began his career with Irish boy-band Boyzone in 1993. They had several top ten hits, primarily in their home country and the rest of Britain. After releasing the solo single When You Say Nothing At All from the film Notting Hill, Keating decided to put together a solo album. Gaining several hits from this album and adding to his already large fan base, he embarked on a tour of Britain to promote this album and sample the market with songs from his next album, this concert is from that tour.
Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000 before an adoring (predominantly female) audience, this is a true showcase. Songs performed are predominantly ballads and he shows he really has a good voice in this area. There are a few more up-tempo pop songs, but the dance routines associated with boy-bands are not there. No doubt many of the audience are there to see him “shake his thing”, but this concert is more about the music than working the crowd into hysteria, I for one am truly thankful for that.
If You Love Me
Way You Make Me Feel
When the World Was Mine
In This Life
Picture of You
Father & Son
When You Say Nothing at All
Keep on Walking
Lovin’ Each Day
Whiskey in the Jar
The Long Goodbye
This concert is also very well filmed and directed. There are far too many shots of the audience, but apart from that this does look good. As a solo artist, Ronan Keating will only grow as a singer and improve with age. As his audience gets older, he will perhaps get to shed the “ex-boy band” stereotype and develop his music style further to reach a wider audience.
Fans of Ronan Keating will love this concert and it is a good example of what to expect from his upcoming Australian tour. He performs all of his hits from his first album plus a couple of Boyzone numbers and Lovin’ Each Day from his (at the time) un-released second album. The majority of songs are ballads but that is where Ronan Keating excels, his voice is much better suited to this type of song. There is a very Irish flavour to his music, this is emphasised in Whiskey In The Jar, an Irish folk song made famous by Thin Lizzy. He is definitely a nice boy, to be sure, to be sure.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced for widescreen owners, this concert really does look good. The picture is sharp at all times with very vibrant colours. Blacks are deep and there is very little sign of grain. Detail is generally good, only really having problems at times with audience shots, but in all it is more than acceptable. Aliasing is minor, only occurring in the usual places such as guitar strings, but this is hardly noticeable. Beautifully directed, this is visually very good.
Audio supplied is a solitary Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and this is quite sufficient. Audio is clear at all times and sync is never a problem. Surrounds get constant use throughout and the subwoofer gets a little action. While producing a good concert feel, my only criticism of the audio would be the use of the separation. Sound is more “spread” to the surrounds rather than separated. What I mean by this is that the vocals and band sound come from the rear speakers as well as the audience noise for the most part, rather than keeping the band audio on the front speakers. Overall though the sound is good and does the concert justice.
A couple of nice extras are included on this release, that should satisfy fans.
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Running for 25 minutes in full frame, this is a nice little featurette that takes you backstage prior to the concert. More of a promotional documentary than anything, this is quite informative and primarily shows the build up to the concert on the day. There are interviews with Ronan Keating, band members and crew but there is also the full video for Way You Make Me Feel. Sound is in DD 2.0 and I would advise you to watch this before the main feature as it builds up nicely to the concert.
Featuring an unplugged set that was recorded at the studios of Heart FM in London and simultaneously broadcast on the Internet, this is a good extra for fans. Running for 18:32 and in the same aspect ratio as the feature, sound is in DD 2.0. My only criticism of this feature is the intermittent use of black and white footage to try and give an arty feel. All it does is hurt the eyes. There is also a fair amount of grain, but apart from that it is a good extra for fans.
This is a selection of ten photos taken during the concert. There are some good pictures here, but all are from a slight distance.
As it says, simply a link for the Ronan Keating website.
Overall, this is a great concert for fans and those that like this type of music. The video and audio are very good, as is the direction. Those with no interest in Ronan Keating or his music may find this boring, but those people are also probably not reading this anyway. A good look at a nice, homely Irish lad.