Bongo’s Bingo is proud to announce ‘Boyzlife’ as their St Patrick’s weekend performers.
The boyband – consisting of Boyzone’s Keith Duffy and Westlife’s Brian McFadden – will be hitting the stage for four dates in March 2019. Not only do you get to enjoy a bingo rave to Uptown Girl, you’re also in with the chance of winning an array of bizarre prizes – ranging from mobility scooters, vintage Porches, Henry Hoover’s, bottles of Glens Vodka, Coco Pops, and lest we forget, the Kevin McCallister cardboard cut-out.
Bongos have a had a number of well-known acts in recent months but the Boyzlife boys always draw the most excitable crowds. These nights promise to bring plenty of nostalgic vibes and of course, good craic. We caught up with Keith Duffy ahead of their four-day-bender in Liverpool. We did this over the phone and discussed their upcoming Bongo’s Bingo dates, the difference between 90s fans’ and fans’ today and (of course) why they chose ‘Boyzlife’ rather than ‘Westzone’. The only hitch was when the phone connection was lost and Keith asked whether my credit had run out!
Are you excited to be performing at Bongo’s Bingo?
Well to be honest, we love doing Bongo’s Bingo. It’s a great concept and we have a great relationship with the guys behind the whole concept and we’ve worked with them from the start so it’s something that we do look forward to. St Patrick’s Day for us is always a great celebration anyway for more reasons than you might imagine. It was also our great friend, Stephen Gately’s, birthday; so, we always try to celebrate that day because it’s special anyway.
I interviewed Edele from B*Witched last year and she said she loves being in Liverpool over that weekend purely because Scousers go just as crazy as the Irish. What do you think?
Well, Liverpool is an extended part of Ireland. I mean, some people would say Liverpool is the real capital of Ireland. Us Dubs’ and you Liverpudlians are all the same you know, we’re bubbled in the same spout.
What’s your favourite thing about performing here?
Look, you know what, I come from a hard, working-class family and we all know how to enjoy ourselves and how to keep our feet flat on the ground you know. We know how to appreciate each other and I feel people in Liverpool are the same type of people like us. You’re hard, working-class people, you know how to keep your feet firmly on the ground and you also know how to let your hair down and have a good night out.
Myself and Boyzone just played at the Echo Arena the week before last and it was one of the best shows of the tour. We sold out the arena in Liverpool and we had a show that was on for over two hours. The crowd never sat down once. They never stopped singing, they knew every song. Going back to Liverpool with Brian, the Boyzlife thing in conjunction with Bongo’s Bingo is just going to be a great night. As a man once said, “If you enjoy the job that you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We love the job that we do and you know what, we don’t work, we just enjoy ourselves
What songs do you think the crowd go crazy for?
We’re very lucky because between Boyzone and Westlife, Brian and myself, we’ve 20 UK number one songs to choose from. We’ve got 50 top ten songs but 20 number ones. So, we know what the fans want to hear, we know what keeps the party going. We’ll slow it down a little bit because we have so many bloody ballads but we’ll finish on a high with the likes of Picture of You, When the Going Gets Tough, Uptown Girl, Swear it Again, it really is hit after hit after hit and the crowd just loves that, you know.
Do you have a personal favourite?
I’ve just done a very, very song-heavy tour with Boyzone with 24 songs on the set. So, we were performing songs from over 20 years ago, from the first album, the second, third, fourth and fifth album and we were also doing songs from the most recent album, Thank You and Goodnight. I suppose one song that never fails to interest me to perform is the Boyzone song, You Needed Me. I love that song. For a Westlife song, I love Swear It Again. That’s a lovely song to perform.
The fans today, are they different to your fans from the 90s? Obviously back then, your fans would wait outside hotel rooms in freezing cold conditions …
I tell you what, they might not be as crazy at the start of the night, but four or five songs in and they’re exactly the same as they were when they were teenagers. I swear to God. I think we take fans back to their teenage years when they hear different songs and it reminds them of where they were and what they were doing. It just allows them to feel young again. Our fans of yesterday, they come to the show now and they bring their own kids. As I said, there are people in their late 80s at our shows, little kids and everything in between. So, there are about three or four different generations of people coming to see us and our music is timeless. It reminds people of what they were doing when that particular song was out and it brings back memories for them all.
I have to ask you, why Boyzlife and not Westzone?
Because Westzone is a carpark at Dublin airport. *laughs*
So, Brian is currently on Dancing on Ice. How’s he finding it?
It’s going great. He’s lasted a lot longer than I expected him to and he’s lasted a lot longer than he himself expected him to which is bizarre. I was there with him on Sunday night and I saw him go through. It’s coming to the semi-finals this weekend and if he gets in, he’s into the final. I don’t think he thinks he’s going to win but he’ll be absolutely blown away that he got that far, you know.
We see how competitive Brian can be with James on Dancing on Ice, do you two ever play pranks on each other?
Ah look, the two of us are big messes, we love having a bit of fun. The two of us do enjoy ourselves, we do enjoy having a laugh, and taking the piss out of each other. But the main thing is, making sure the audience have a night to remember. Whatever it takes to give the audience that memory, we will go the extra length. That’s just what we do, we don’t take ourselves seriously, we’re very well-grounded guys. We just love to have a good time.
Besides drinking Guinness, what do you do for fun on tour?
We play a lot of golf. We’re not as young as we used to. In the early days, we’d party half way through the night and sleep it off the next day. We don’t do that anymore because we’re just not able for the hangovers anymore, for the heebie jeebies!
*Phone hangs up*
Sorry, I don’t know what happened there, so you can’t hack the hangovers?
Did you hang up on me? Did you run out of credit?
Like I was saying, we just enjoy what we do, we’re very fortunate to be in the positions that we are. We play golf, we don’t get too drunk and try to keep ourselves fit. When the chance arises for us to have a bit of fun and let our hair down, we certainly don’t walk past it.
Do you think you and Brian might collaborate with anybody?
I don’t know. We’re going to record a new album this year, in May. We’re doing a full live tour in January/February 2020 with a live band behind us so it’s very exciting.
We are really looking forward to your performance at Bongo’s Bingo. If you could sum up in one word how your year is looking, what would it be?