Thursday, 10 October 2013

A tribute.

Today marked the 4 year anniversary of the death of Stephen Gately; lead singer of the band that dominated my teenage years; Boyzone.  I still find it strange how myself and a friend were, that very night, talking about him while sharing a bottle of wine in a bar in town; unbeknown that a mere few hours later, he'd be gone.  I remember getting home, and before going to bed scrolling through Facebook (as we all probably do!) and coming across a status that said "RIP Stephen Gately".  I immediately checked the news, hoping it do be some sort of mix up, but unfortunately this wasn't to be.  He had been found dead in his apartment in Majorca in the early hours of the morning.  Struggling to take in what I was seeing, I turned off the news and went to sleep.  When I woke up, and realised it wasn't a bad dream, more details were emerging, and I spent the majority of the day glued to the news channel trying to understand what had happened to my teenage idol.

I was a big fan of Boyzone from the start.  My first memory of seeing them on TV is the Christmas  Top of the Pops.  I remember watching it at my Grandma's house, where we all used to gather for Christmas dinner.  I actually delayed our sitting down to eat as I had to watch them performing Love me for a Reason in their fetching woolly jumpers.  There and then I declared my love for the short one with the 'curtains' hair style and cheeky smile.  My love for the Irish boyband grew, and slowly my room became covered in posters; including a life size one of Stephen, which looking back, it must have been the creepiest thing ever to have that watching over you while you sleep! 

Unfortunately I never got to see them live, money was always tight as I was growing up, and that coupled with nobody to go with meant I had to make do with watching their live shows on VHS (this was the 90s, we didn't have DVD's haha).   One of my favourite memories is buying their Where We Belong show on Sky Box Office and watching them perform live in Manchester (where they were supported by a certain other Irish boyband...!).  I absolutely loved it, and it still remains as one of the best shows I've ever seen, even though I wasn't actually there.  I hope one day it will be released on DVD so I can watch it all over again.  

As the years went on, my favourite member did change to Shane, but I still had a soft spot for Stephen.  I remember the day he announced to the world that he was gay, which must have been hugely difficult for him. He was so brave, and also must have been so worried as to how the fans would react.  I'm sure I speak for every fan out there when I say my admiration for him grew and I was so pleased he could now enjoy being in a relationship just like the other band members had been able to do.  I remember watching their performance at London's Party in the Park, which followed shortly after this story broke, and feeling so proud when Stephen got the biggest cheer of the whole day.

When the band reformed in 2008 and announced a tour, I simply had to go, and sure enough me and my best friend went to one of their shows in Newcastle.  We had an absolute blast. They sang all their classics, including a song called And I, which wasn't actually a single, but was one of my all time favourite Boyzone songs.  I'm not ashamed to say I shed a little tear as they were singing this!  I loved how they had changed the arrangement of some of the songs so that each of them had a turn at singing lead, putting a new spin on the songs that took me back to my teens.  I remembered every word from every song, and was singing and screaming away like I was a teenager again, much to the disapproval of the boring woman sat next to us, who remained seated for the entire show.  Boring or what?!  I'm so glad I had finally got to see them live, especially in light of what was to happen in the October of the following year.

I'm so proud of how Ronan, Shane, Keith and Mikey carried themselves throughout this whole ordeal.  Although they were clearly visibly heartbroken at losing their band mate and best friend, their 'brother' as they said, the strength of their friendship really shone through.  Just as they said they found comfort in being together, I'm sure all fans found comfort in seeing them together.  I watched the broadcast from outside the funeral on Sky News and the service was just beautiful.  They boyz' speeches were just fantastic, and I couldn't help but smile at some of the memories they brought up from their days together in the band.

This year marks Boyzone's 20th anniversary.  It's crazy to think it's really been that long since they were formed, and unbelievable to think of what's changed in that time.  They're marking the occasion with an arena tour and are also releasing new material.  I heard a sneak peek of one of the songs called Love will Save the Day which I'm really hoping will be released as a single cos it's fantastic, a real feel good song, and one I'm sure Stephen would have loved; I can actually imagine him singing it, but sadly this will never be.  That said, it's a brilliant, feel good song that's sure to be a hit.  

In the weeks following Stephen's death, I remember the boyz saying they as yet didn't know whether or not they'd carry on the band without him, but I am so pleased they did.  Admittedly, at first I wasn't sure I'd like to see him without him, but even though he isn't there his memory will live on in the other members, and he will never be forgotten.


1 comment

  1. I love Boyzone, always have, always will. I remember when the news came on that Stephen had passed away, so shocking!! I've seen them in concert twice and I feel honoured to have seen all 5 of them together. I'd love to go to another concert! x

    Jade | Beauty Butterfly Blog


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