Westlife’s 2-night show has PH fans feeling ‘like 19 again’
What could possibly be louder than a Filipino concert crowd? Well, as Westlife recently found out, it’s another Filipino concert crowd.
The Irish pop boy band recently visited the Philippines for a two-night stop of their “Wild Dreams” concert tour. The first one was already the liveliest of the 51 shows they had played at that point. But just when Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Shane Filan thought that things couldn’t get any better than that, the fans who attended the second night proved them wrong.
The audience never let up— singing, screaming and dancing along—from the opening song to the very last number.
“You’re louder than they were last night! I was talking to our sound guy just before the show and he told me that last night was the loudest sound we have ever recorded so far. Manila, you’re the loudest!” Shane said at the Araneta Coliseum. “It’s such a great place to play in. This is an incredible place to be. It’s so good to be back in the Philippines.”
Nicky, however, didn’t seem too surprised with the warm reception. “On our last tour (2019), you guys here were the loudest of the entire tour. We have that on record—the Philippines wins!” he said. “But last night, you smashed that record and now you’re the loudest.”
And those pronouncements only made the giddy crowd even more pumped up for the concert’s 23-song set list, which transported everyone back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. “We’re a little bit older now—including you!” quipped, Kian, drawing laughter from the fans—most of whom have been following the band for more than two decades now.
“But not tonight,” he stressed. “We’re going to pretend like we’re 19.”
And with hit midtempos and ballads like “Swear It Again,” “Flying Without,” “Fool Again,” “If I Let You Go” and “I Lay My Love on You,” the boy band had everyone taking a trip down memory lane. Even Nicky couldn’t help but look back at the band’s first concert in the country in 2001.
“I remember back in the day, you guys would go to the airport and bang on the glass. Now you’re grown up. Some of you have children now, so you don’t do that anymore … But you still support Westlife and come to our shows!” Nicky said.
Kian added that in their native Ireland—or everywhere they go, for that matter—they encounter Filipinos, telling them how much they love the band. “And we’re like, ‘Of course, we know!’”
Unlike most boy bands that burst on the scene in the late 1990s, Westlife doesn’t really dance. Their strength lies in their vocals and the blanket harmonies they weave together onstage. But that night, they did a “little bit of dancing,” too. Aside from their own hits and popular covers, Westlife also delivered an infectious Abba medley—much to the delight of the titas and titos.
They also shared special moments with fans onstage. The boys invited onstage a 62-year-old woman who came all the way from Bicol and gave her a group hug. A man wearing a suit similar to the boys’ took selfies with them. And not to rub in the fact that everyone has gotten older, but it’s hard not to feel that way when you have an adorable little boy—a longtime fan’s child—onstage adorably singing Westlife songs.
While Westlife made sure to give fans something to dance to (they even did an amusing posing sequence to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”), it was their power ballads that really had the audience swooning and lighting up their phones. Mark, the group’s strongest singer, was in fine form, belting out high notes and runs with ease and resonance in songs like “Flying Without Wings.”
“Every time we come here, the passion, love and support you give us—and have been giving us for more than 23 years—make us so proud. We have met many of you through the years and we look forward to meeting you and performing for you for a long time to come,” Mark said.