Given that they’ve been around for more than 20 years, with several of those years in the eye of the hurricane that is life at the very pinnacle of the world of pop, you could perhaps forgive Boyzone’s Shane Lynch for not being entirely sure if they’ve ever played at a cricket ground before.
‘It is definitely the first cricket ground we’ve done,’ he says before pausing.
‘No, I tell a lie, it’s the first one in years. We did a cricket ground, if I remember rightly, many years back.
‘We’ve done open air stately homes, horse tracks and situations like that.’
When Take That broke up the first time round, the Irish five-piece were perfectly poised to take their place in the affections of teenage girls everywhere. Along the way they’ve racked up album sales of more than 25m and 18 top 10 UK singles, six of those being number ones, including the likes of No Matter What, Words and When The Going Gets Tough.
Next weekend though, on August 1, they’ll be playing at the home of Hampshire cricket, the Ageas Bowl at Hedge End, after the Hampshire v Middlesex Royal London One-Day Cup.
It seems Shane is looking forward to the chance to finally get a handle on the sport.
‘I don’t know anything about cricket, but I was speaking to a friend who loves it and he was saying we should go along because it’s an awesome day out and it’s all about having a few beers and having some fun.
‘This might be my first chance to get into it.’
The boyband, completed by Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham and Ronan Keating, were pulled together in 1993 by Louis Walsh, and enjoyed six years at the top, before calling things to a halt in 1999 for what turned out to be an eight-year break.
You may only see four on stage, but we’re always a five-piece, at least in our heads anywayShane Lynch of Boyzone
Shane recalls those heady early days: ‘I don’t think that when we started off we had any doubt we would travel the world and that happened – we did that.
‘We never really thought too much about what would happen when it stopped, because as the young men that we were, we were just being the band called Boyzone and doing what we did.
‘It wasn’t until we took a wee break and then it was: “wow, I never really thought about what you did afterwards...”
‘Luckily for us, “afterwards” didn’t last too long. We got back together, got back to making records and playing shows.’
During those years he started getting more involved in drift racing – he has his own team – and became a reality TV regular, which he has continued with, appearing on The Games, Splash, and Celebrity Masterchef among others.
‘I think reality shows are about experience, and most things I’ve done it’s been to learn certain disciplines that I would never have got the chance to do.
‘Experience is what makes you a person. If you don’t take these chances you’re left wondering, and I don’t like to be left wondering. I like to grab life.’
But he says they never intended to be apart for as long as they were.
‘One year turned into two, then three, then four. We were busy with life and had our own interests. Before we knew it, it was 2007.
‘ It didn’t feel like we’d been away when we got back together. There was nothing awkward about it and that’s the great thing about Boyzone – the relationships we have with each other.
‘Coming back, we were different men, without a shadow of a doubt.
‘But funnily enough, being back, you found there were a lot of the same old emotions and traits, that never kind of changed – you just get back into the bubble, and you understand completely where you are and what you’re doing.’
However, tragedy struck in 2009 when Stephen died while on holiday in Majorca of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. The rest of the band were pallbearers at his funeral, and it’s clear now that six years on, Lynch still misses his friend.
‘We were making an album at the time and there was definitely a question of whether we stop or finish this album.
‘What we agreed on was that it was easier to grieve together then apart, we were there being supported by each other. I think that was the best thing we ever did, on a personal level, dealing with that scenario where we all lost our pal, and that gave us the strength together.
‘Boyzone was always five and always will be for us. You may only see four, but we’re always a five-piece, at least in our heads anyway.’
Throughout the group’s career there have been obvious comparisons with Take That, but with them now operating as a trio following the departure of Jason Orange, could Lynch see Boyzone carrying on if one of them left?
‘I thoroughly get why somebody decides: “I don’t want to do this life any more”, I really do. I think you’re a braver man if you can say that, rather than going down this road of being somewhere because you think you have to, but you don’t want to be there.
‘I respect anyone who steps back and says it’s not for me any more.’
These days though, life in Boyzone seems less intense then in those heady days of the ’90s.
‘The way we run it at the moment, we rock up maybe once a year and we do some shows and it is very pleasurable. I see the boys and have a great time, and then I depart and I can do other stuff I like.
‘I think it’s an amazing way we deal with it. If we had to do it all the time again, going round all the countries and all that, I don’t think I could handle it. This is just enough for me.’
Boyzone are at The Ageas Family Festival, including the Hampshire v Middlesex Royal London One-Day Cup, at The Ageas Bowl on August 1. Tickets are £40 adults/£10 child. Go to ageasbowl.com.
WIN VIP tickets to meet Boyzone
We’re giving away a pair of VIP tickets to not only attend Cricket Live at The Ageas Family Festival on Saturday, August 1, but also to meet the lads from Boyzone.
We also have three pairs of regular tickets to win, giving entry to the cricket and the evening concert.
For a chance to win, answer this question: What was the title of Boyzone’s first UK number one single?
Simply e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, address and daytime telephone number, or send your entry to: Boyzone Competition, The News, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN.
Entries must be received by 5pm on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Normal News competition rules apply.