Have you ever been really, really looking forward to something fabulous … and when it finally happens, you are let down or disappointed?

Well, thankfully that wasn’t my experience this week!

It all started back in November last year when I first heard the news that Ronan Keating, someone who’s vocal ability and musicianship I have admire for a while, was planning on extending his tour of Australia to take in two nights in New Zealand!  The first thing that was amazing about this announcement, was the fact that he was including Wellington in the two nights – usually, any “big” artists that tour our shores limit their stay to Auckland and ignore the rest of us!  So right from the start, I knew it was meant to be ;)

Ticket scan by JessI impatiently waited for the tickets to go on sale for the event and logged into one of the three pre-sale offers as soon as I could; imagine my delight when Row 5 was offered to me!

Well, after that exciting start, all I had to do now was wait … impatiently for the day to come; which surprisingly, didn’t take too long to arrive!

I met up with my friends outside the Arena and we dutifully had our bags searched at the door for food or drink (I guess this was because they wanted patrons to spend more money on the generously-priced beverages inside).  We didn’t get far before being greeted by the official tour programme, of which of course we all had to have a copy (a selection of the pages to enjoy are below!):

Following that, we had our tickets scanned to enter the Arena, whereupon we had to check out the merchandise on offer as well (I am currently wearing my Ronan Tour 2012 t-shirt as I write this!).

The auditorium doors were not officially opened till 7pm so we sat around, waiting, with the other interested and excited ticketholders until at last we could be shown to our seats and could sit back and look forward to the night’s entertainment!

The next “impression” for me about the whole experience was the fact that the support act, who actually is a mega-star in her own right, Sharon Corr, arrived on stage at 7.35pm!  I don’t know what it is about concerts in New Zealand usually, but what is it with having to wait half an hour sometimes, just for the support act to start their set?!  In any case, we were more than pleasantly surprised when Sharon arrived to the stage and lead us through a fantastic setlist of “old” Corrs’ tunes, as well as tunes from her new CD titled Dream of You.

I was struck by the fact that I have never actually been to a music concert when the “support act” for the main act was receiving as much attention, support, encouragement and adulation as Sharon Corr did that night!

Needless to say, I think we were all more than a little disappointed, but at the same time relieved because we knew Ronan would be on stage soon, when she played her final song for us and left the stage.

Tour programme pictures. By JessThe stage crew then took to the task of clearing the equipment from Sharon’s supporting band of musicians, and setting up and testing the equipment for Ronan’s stage set up.  Again, I was struck by how quickly and efficiently these people went about the task and a break of half an hour, in the scheme of things, was not long to wait, especially when you could see all that had to be done as well.

The lights dimmed again … we could see shadows of band members stepping onto the stage as they took up their various pieces of equipment … and the introducing bars of “Believe Again” sounded loudly across the auditorium.  I drew in a breath as I recognised the blonde-haired figure walk to the centre microphone on the stage and realised that finally my dream of hearing Ronan Keating singing live was becoming a reality!

Don’t ask me to remember the exact setlist as, for one thing, I’m not exactly sure I’d get all the names of the songs correct, and for another, it wasn’t about keeping track of when Ronan sang what; it was more about HOW he sung each tune and how he enjoyed the night himself!

I do know he sung several popular crowd favourites like “The way you make me feel,” “Nothing at all,” If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Loving each day.”  These classics were mixed with a couple of brand new tracks for his up-and-coming album, due for release in May this year, as well as a few tracks from his duet offering with Burt Bacharach, a duet with Sharon Corr, and of course, we couldn’t complete the list without a few Boyzone numbers as well!

Favourite moments from the night have to be Ronan telling-on the All Blacks of 10 years ago (the last time he was here for a concert) when he shared that the group of them were hanging out down the back of the auditorium, dancing around and grooving at a Ronan Keating concert!(Staunch rugby players, eh?! Ha ha!)

Other favourite moments were when Ronan would interject by-play with his band mates, or try his hand (or feet!) at Irish dancing, amaze us with his powerful vocal ability with lengthy, strong “note-holds,” or blow the security guards’ minds by stepping off the stage and running along the front of the pit, shaking hands and posing for quick photographs as he sung through another song!

A poignant moment in the evening was Ronan dedicating his performance of “One More Song” to his own mother, who passed away 14 years to the day that night.  I felt like I needed to hug him after that emotional song, as he reached for his water bottle to distract himself quickly as soon as it had ended.

All good things have to come to an end though, don’t they, or so we thought as Ronan bid us farewell and lead the rest of the musicians off the stage as the auditorium once again darkened.

After a chorus of stamping feet, incessant clapping, and chants of “Ronan! Ronan!” we were, of course, rewarded as, a quick change of clothes later, Ronan appeared again in a rousing rendition of “Pump it Up,” followed by the more serene “Separate Cars” off the Boyzone album, Brother, and finally closing out the show (this time for real!) with the ever-popular “Rollercoaster.”

Thank you Ronan Keating for sharing your amazing vocal ability, entertaining antics and genuineness with us; and thank you for rewarding my expectations of a fabulous night out … with just that, and more – a sensational night out with not only one, but two brilliant and talented mega-star musicians – I shall remember 2 February 2012 for a long, long, long time to come … and will definitely be looking forward to the new album when it is released later this year!

Oh, and PS make sure you all keep an eye out for Ronan’s acting debut in the film, Goddess, due for release in May/June this year also!  :)

- Thanks to Jess for sharing her review. Her photos are also in our gallery.