RICHARD BATSON Blickling Hall
> Blickling Hall
A star-studded spell of big name outdoor concerts in Norfolk came to an end last night as Ronan Keating crooned to a lakeside crowd.
He's famous for singing about life being a rollercoaster - but last night it looked like it was going to be more of a log flume ride for Keating as it rained steadily for hours before his big show.
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But the luck of the Irish shone on Blickling Hall as the skies cleared during the warm-up act.
Crowds emerged from under a multi-coloured canopy of brollies and gazebos to enjoy a string of hits from his group and solo careers.
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The star apologised for the weather, but joked: “I could not get hold of the big man, but I called Bono and he sorted it out. It won't stop us having a good time.”
Ronan opened with some dance numbers, beginning with Turn it On, then the ballad If Tomorrow Never Comes - constantly chatting to the crowd throughout.
Concert promoter David Heartfield said: “The shows were technically weatherproof, assum-ing the British summer would throw down rain at some stage.”
The concert marked the end of a stunning spate of gigs watched by tens of thousands of music fans.
It began with a slice of rock balladeer Meatloaf, who ushered in the fingers-in-the-belt legends Status Quo, jazz from Pop Idol Will Young and big band boogie of Jools Holland at Blickling, while Thetford Forest played host to singer-songwriter Daniel Beding-field and Brit-popper Ian Brown.
Keating is renowned for being the nice man of pop - a doting father, who raises money for cancer and Third World charities, and whose talents have seen him host the Eurovision Song Contest and MTV Music Awards.
His songbook reflects that - dominated by love songs, while his faster numbers are more up-tempo dance than head-banging rock.
There was a big treat for fan Linda Aldis, who won a chance to meet Ronan through an EDP competition.
Mrs Aldis, 53, saw him the previous week, having already bought tickets for a shorter show at Newmarket Racecourse, but she was delighted to get the chance to see him again, at close quarters.
“I like his music, his blonde hair and blue eyes and he's a nice family man,” said Mrs Aldis.