It was a weekend packed with music as the Forestry Commission hosted their trio of performances at Sherwood Pines as part of their Forest Live season of shows up and down the country.
This year Sherwood had three nights of music, one more than the usual offering, making it a weekend to remember and also one to recover from!
I was lucky enough to see Boyzone and Jessie J who took to the stage on Thursday and Friday night respectively leaving Paul Weller to close the series of concerts on Saturday.
It all began with a fantastic warm, sunny night on Thursday for the Irish boys; Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch. I can’t believe it is over 20 years since the group was formed by X Factor’s Louis Walsh when they shared chart dominance with Take That.
Boyzone had 21 singles in the top 40 UK charts before splitting in 1999 but despite reforming in 2007, the death of band member Stephen Gately in 2010 slowed their return until this recent tour and claims to ‘be back’.
Unlike many bands and performers I have seen in the Forestry Commission’s forest concerts, the boys (men) really put on a great show and didn’t just see it as a half-hearted attempt at a gig.
They used the full stage set which included a video screen backdrop that not only illustrated the songs but was used as a story board too.
The guys really made an effort with three swift costume changes from DJs to preppy boys to edgy black that reflected the songs through each section and also gave the audience a different perspective on their characters.
But it was the guys interaction with the audience, who were mainly women over 40 and were fans first time around, and each other that was so refreshing and good to see.
It wasn’t just a case of singing their hits, bashing them out and getting back home but a well rehearsed, professional performance from pop masters and if Take That can come back for good, I think there is room for Boyzone too.
They really showed a genuine closeness and affection for each other, and the fans who have supported them for over 20 years, and seemed delighted that they were back on stage doing what they do best.
New songs were interspersed with old as Life is a Rollercoaster, No Matter What and many others were sung as the audience joined in, danced and waved their arms.
The atmosphere created by the group was as warm as the weather as they made jokes about which member was like Robin Hood and who was more akin to Maid Marion!
There was a poignant moment when the boys looked back at their time as a five-piece and the untimely death of Stephen Gately but it didn’t spoil the tone only acted to enhance it.
Friday night was different again with young pop sensation Jessie J who has adopted a wider audience appeal since her involvement in The Voice as a judge.
I was surprised by her performance as I wasn’t sure what to expect but she pulled out all the stops and it wasn’t all about the money.
The audience was very mixed with many families enjoying the music and festival fun. Daughters were on dad’s backs, sons were dancing with their mums, teenagers were with friends and it was a wonderful atmosphere.
Jessie spotted one young fan close to us who was jigging on shoulders and dedicated a song to her, making the eight year-old cry with joy.
Jessie sang her familiar hits which went down well including Sexy Lady, It’s My Party and Laserlight mixing it up with her new sounds.
The backing band were impressive as were her singers who created a professional set.
Unfortunately the previous night’s perfect weather wasn’t repeated as the cooler night turned to rain as Jessie sang but it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of this young crowd and the not so young who still know how to party...if not dance!