Two of Britain’s most famous boy bands combine for show in York

Two of Britain’s most famous boy bands combine for show in York

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are coming to the Barbican <i>(Image: Supplied)</i>

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are coming to the Barbican (Image: Supplied)

SINGERS from two of Britain’s most famous boy bands are combining for a show in York.

Boyzone’s Keith Duffy and Westlife’s Brian McFadden are setting out on a 14 date UK tour in 2025, with the York performance coming on February 1.

The duo Boyzlife formed in 2016, when both Keith and Brian left their respective groups.

The popular pop-duo Boyzlife has performed for more than 100,000 fans – with two complete sell out tours either side of the Covid pandemic.

They’ll be performing a mixture of Boyzone and Westlife’s classic tracks on the 14-date tour, including their catalogue of over 21 UK number one singles. Hits include Boyzone’s: ‘I Love The Way You Love Me’, ‘All That I Need’, ‘No Matter What’, as well as Westlife’s: ‘My Love’, ‘I Lay My Love On You’, and ‘Uptown Girl’.

Tickets are on sale and available via ticketmaster, which can be accessed through the link here.


Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden form a new band together, the band’s name upset Westlife and Boyzone fans

The Boyzone star discusses his surprise collaboration with Brian McFadden of Westlife as they head out on tour together

(Image: PA)

Dream collaborations do not come much better than Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden.

The two Irish singers, who forged successful careers as part of ’90s and ’00s boybands Boyzone and Westlife, teamed up to form Boyzlife and with new music under their belt, and their Old School tour kicking off imminently (the 27-city tour has its first date on September 22 at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall), the duo are by all accounts in a good place.

The tour will see them performing hits from their first album of original music – also titled Old School and released earlier this year – as well as some of the much-loved tunes from Westlife and Boyzone, and will also be a welcome return to performing live in big venues.

“We’re very aware that a lot of our fans are coming to hear the classics from Westlife and the classics from Boyzone, and we won’t let anybody down,” Duffy, 47, vows as we speak over the phone.

“We’ll make sure that we do the big hits, but we will slot in a few of the new songs…”.

Among their new music are tunes like The One, which was co-written previously by McFadden and songwriter Guy Chambers, who has worked with a long list of music superstars including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue and more.

It was important to the duo they got the sound and songs right for their original material.

(Image: Getty Images)
Duffy explains: “This is something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time. And we did put a lot of thought into it, because we wanted to make sure that when we found the sound of Boyzlife that we really did believe in it, and that we could back it up and that we enjoyed performing it.”

He says music from the treasure chest of hits Westlife and Boyzone had, although great songs, were not always the type of music he would listen to.

“With Boyzlife, we’ve much more artist control, creative control, we want to not make music for the sake of it, we wanted to make music that we genuinely loved to listen to,” he says earnestly.

“Both of us loved the ’80s, we loved those power ballads from the motion pictures like Top Gun and The Karate Kid, all those great movies of the ’80s.

“So we wanted to find, nobody’s doing that now, we wanted the lyrically led songs with the love story and the fist pumping, and the hair standing on the back of your neck style songs, so that was our template in our heads.”

“We’re very, very, very happy with what we have now. And it’s a different world now than the ’90s. I suppose to be honest, we’re probably not a current act.

“So it’s difficult to get as much radio play as we would have liked it to, to get out to the general masses, to build a new audience, but we’re lucky enough that the audience that we have are very, very loyal and their kids and their grandkids are all listening to our stuff now as well.

“So we are gathering a new network of fans”.

Despite knowing each other from their time as members of successful boybands, the pair have formed a closer friendship now they are musical partners.

Duffy recalls how they were previously “good buddies” who would play the odd round of golf together or whose paths would cross while touring and they would enjoy a night out.

It was, he says, “a good social friendship” but “we never had a solid kind of brotherly friendship”.

That has all changed now.

“It took us a long time to find that common ground between us because although we’re very alike, we’re not kids. We have our own ways about us, we have our own habits, good and bad.

“And when you’re living with somebody inside out and backwards, and you’re in each other’s pockets every day, you do upset and wind each other up to a certain… until you kind of understand each other and then I think your friendship either gets stronger or you fall apart.

“And thankfully, I think our friendship has got much stronger, I would go as far to say we are like brothers. We love each other and we’re a big part of each other’s families, which is obviously very important as well.

“And I think it’s a very healthy way that we work, we’re very honest with each other. If either of us let each other down, we’re very quick to pull each other up on that.

“And we don’t bury anything under the carpet, we will have full on arguments, we will have full on honest, kind of, let’s say, debates about what we think is right and wrong.

“We will agree to disagree and move on, or we’ll sort the problem out, but we do not walk on eggshells, and we do not push things under the carpet. We were very, very honest with each other”.

Ahead of their tour, they have a decent warm-up gig in the form of a performance at Liverpool’s Reminisce Festival on September 10.

Duffy credits performing one of their new songs, called All This Time, with helping build up his confidence in performing live again.

“I think All This Time is a song that’s a little bit more mature than the rest of the songs on the album, a little bit more in the direction that we want to go in,” he says.

“Performing that song live, it took me a while to get my confidence up about what I was just talking about, when I first started singing live with Brian and upfront and I wasn’t projecting my voice very well, because I was self-conscious.

“And I needed to build up my confidence and I needed to assure myself that I was in tune and I still had an ability to be able to sing.

“So it took me quite a while to get there and with the recording of this song and the writing of the song, I feel it’s one of the best vocals in my life to be fair.

“Getting the opportunity to do that live with the live drums and electric guitar, it’s a great feeling. It’s a real feeling of achievement.

“I’m making the most of the opportunities that I have now. And ultimately, to get on stage and sing a song that you wrote, recorded, produced, it’s a great feeling – a really, really good feeling.”

Boyzlife’s Old School headline tour starts on September 22 with dates running through to early November 2022.

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