“All the memories, Philippines, all the memories. Lots of good times,” quipped Westlife member Shane Filan during the acapella renditions of their hit songs “I Have a Dream,” “Unbreakable,” “Fool Again,” “I Lay My Love on You,” and “Queen of my Heart” at the first night of Westlife’s two-night Manila concert held on July 29-30.
And Shane’s remark encapsulated what the “Twenty Tour” concert was all about – a night of retrospective journey as Westlife, one of the most successful pop bands of the ’90s, sang their popular powerful ballads and catchy bops complete with costumes and choreography.
Loud screams from 16,000 fans drowned out the whole Araneta Coliseum as the Irish boyband, composed of Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, and Kian Egan, emerged on stage clad in military-inspired uniforms as they perform the opening song “Hello My Love,” their newest single after eight years which was written and produced by superstar hitmakers Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac. Video by Shirley Mae Sibulan.
The crowd was up on their feet – singing along to every word while waving their light sticks in the air – as Westlife sang “Swear it Again,” the band’s debut single in 1999 followed by a collection of classics “What About Now,” “My Love,” “When You’re Looking Like That,” and “Uptown Girl.”
“Westlife’s Twenty Tour is basically a celebration of our 20th birthday as a band and our relationship with all of the fans here in the Philippines. So who remembers when we first came here back in 1999?” Mark asked the crowd who in turn raised their hands as an answer.
“Since then, we certainly do remember. And we remember the first time that we ever came to this wonderful country and met all of you, guys; it really, really blew our minds. Since the very beginning, my point is, you guys have been passionate, supportive of Westlife. And this concert is to say thank you so much and we love you Philippines. We love you,” Mark enthused as fans screamed in unison as a sign of affirmation.
As a treat to their legion of Filipino fans, Westlife picked four lucky girls whom they serenaded on stage to the tune of “Better Man.” The four lucky girls enjoyed the spotlight as they were able to hug and kiss their idols, and took a selfie with them too.
After singing a collection of chart-toppers, Westlife paid tribute to Queen, considered as one of the best bands of all time, by doing covers of “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Gaga,” “I Want to Break Free,” “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions” to the delight of the fans.
After reuniting in 2018, Nicky updated the fans of what Westlife did in their six-year hiatus after 14 years of touring the world. He thanked the fans for their continuous support even when they decided to do their own individual thing temporarily.
“Seven years ago, we decided to take a little break – we got married and have children – we have nine children between us. Nine Westlife kids at the moment, back home in Ireland. And we’re not finished there because Mark is expecting a little baby later this year – that’ll be 10 Westlife kids.”
Nicky also announced that the band is currently doing a new album, “Spectrum,” set to be released by the end of the year.
“Now this year is all about sharing memories – the good times, the sad times – but also the future of Westlife. We are in the middle of recording a brand new album which comes out later in the year. That album is called ‘Spectrum’ so hopefully, you guys can check out that as well.”
Wearing an all-white suit, Westlife ended the night singing “Flying Without Wings” and “World of Our Own” before taking a bow and waving to the crowd who came in droves to listen to the songs they grew up listening to. Video by Kiko Machines.
Except for the gigantic screen that flashed visually-arresting clips that served as a backdrop, Westlife opted for a no-frills concert – devoid of back-up singers and dancers as well as props – and made it about their music journey by crooning well-curated list of songs that endeared them to their millions of fans around the world.
On the Big Dome’s stage, it was evident that the fans couldn’t get enough of Shane, Mark, Kian, and Nicky – probably eliciting the same feelings when Westlife visited the country for the first time twenty years ago.
#WestlifeManila2018 is presented by Wilbros Live. More photos on this LINK.