I wasn’t really a fan of Westlife, but I was a HUGE fan of two songs: “If I Let You Go” and “Fool Again”. For those two songs alone, I was already a big fan. But what I didn’t realize was, they had so many songs I actually liked.
I know, many would scoff at Westlife’s usual sappy playlist, but I don’t care, I really love their songs! At best, some would veil their enjoyment of their music as a “guilty pleasure”, to somehow lessen the shame of liking their music by labeling it as such, as if to say, “I know their music is baduy, but I’m cool enough to like it anyway.” I don’t have these issues, so I say, I discovered that I’m an unqualified BIG fan.
The concert started out with “When You’re Looking Like That”, which to me at least, signaled a night-long string of hit songs one after another. But there were understandably a number of songs from their new album “Gravity”, and a fun but somehow bizarre medley of new dance hits, which included a game rendition by Mark of Rihanna’s “Only Girl In The World”.
Whenever they would squeeze in a hit or two, like “My Love” or “Flying Without Wings” or “Seasons In The Sun”, we were expecting it to be followed by another hit, then another. But somehow, they never got around to singing most of their hits. So by the time they sang their last song, “Uptown Girl”, I was thinking that it must be a loaded encore since most of their discography is yet to be performed.
But to my utter distress, they didn’t sing my most favorite Westlife songs: (my two MOST favorite) “If I Let You Go” and “Fool Again”, and my other faves: “I Lay My Love On You”, “Queen Of My Heart”, “My Private Movie”, “Bop Bop Baby” and “World Of Our Own”. But what really surprised my was the omission of their ONLY hit in the U.S., “Swear It Again” (as opposed to a whopping 14 #1 singles in the U.K.).
So there I was, raring to sing along with my favorite Westlife hits, but came out pretty much empty. But that said, the lads still put on an incredible show. I was shocked at how rabid the fan response still is. I just came from the American Idol concert, but it came nowhere close to the thunderous shrieking that resounded in the coliseum! Not bad for a boy band far from their peak (1999-2002). So I totally believe their disbelief at how the Pinoys still scream for them up until now.
They also did this very timely shtick, with Kian and Nicky constantly filming the crowd reactions because they’ll post it on Twitter. It’s the sign of the times when your performers are filming you back, because they’ll post it as well! They even made the crowd to the wave. It was quite a sight, actually.
They also pulled fans from the audience based on the signs they were holding up. That was cute, because they all looked like they were going to faint. Again, another sign of the times, they all got girl fans, except for Mark, who got a guy who had a sign that said: “Mark, Kiss Me!” Mark didn’t, but I guess with this and the Rihanna cover, he’s pretty much out and about.
But it’s pretty obvious that the biggest star is Nicky. Everytime his face is up on the big screen, no fail, the crowd screams in paroxysms of pleasure. Of all of them, he sings the least, but he’s got the biggest fan base.
But of course when it comes to the music, Westlife is Shane and Mark. These two are like the tag team of the group, passing the vocals from one to another like guys on a football team to bring home the touchdown. They obviously sings most of the vocals between them, and they don’t disappoint. Even live, they’re rock solid vocally.
A lot of people might not know that Westlife was originally signed by THE Simon Cowell. They have the third most number one singles in the U.K. (14), with the distinction of being the ONLY act to have their first seven singles peak at number one.
But despite my missing hits, overall it was quite an experience. I actually caught their first concert here in Manila, but to be honest, I hardly remember anything about it. I guess I discovered their music AFTER they were released. So I’m glad I caught them again, that’s why the next day, when I was headed for Baguio, I had their Greatest Hits playing on repeat in my iPod.
One last, I have a new pet peeve: people filming concerts using their IPADS. I mean, bad enough we’re all occasionally blocking the view of people behind us by lifting our cameras or cellphones to take a picture, but an iPad? It’s huge! Can you imagine if you replaced every cam or phone there with iPads, it would be a nightmare. I take pictures in concerts ALL the time. But I’m really conscious of the amount of time I hold up a camera. I mean, I could be blocking someone behind me who might also want to take a photo. So I hold it up, click, then bring it down. But an iPad? Really?!?
Anyway, maybe it’s just me. Maybe everyone’s okay with iPads blocking the view, so ignore my little rant. But back to Westlife, I’m so glad I watched them this time around. I think I’m a bigger fan now that when they were at their peak. But next time guys, if you ever do a concert here again, I promise to be there, if you sing “If I Let You Go” and “Fool Again”. Please?