September 30, 2011
Westlife wows Big Dome crowd with the gravity of nostalgia
"You are the most enthusiastic crowd I've ever seen!"
This was how Shane Filan, member of the boy band Westlife, described their Filipino fans who went to the concert last night, September 29, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got the chance to watch the Big Dome show—one of the first few stops in the Asian leg of Westlife's ongoing Gravity Tour.
Almost all the seats in the venue were filled up, and as soon as the lights went off, the crowd started to cheer.
"LET US BRING SOME OLD SONGS BACK." Before the band's much-awaited performance, a few front acts took centerstage.
Three of Star Magic's latest talents—Young JV, Van Roxas, and Piero Vergara—regaled the crowd with their RnB, pop and rap renditions.
After the prelude, Westlife's back-up band did a brief sound check while the main stage was spruced up, and everyone started cheering as they saw the band members going up on the stage.
As the music started playing, Westlife staged their opening number, "When You're Looking Like That," as their fans sang along.
This was followed by the songs "World of Our Own," "What Makes A Man," "Safe," and their cover of the song "Home," a Michael Bublé original.
After the group changed into more casual outfits, Kian Egan, another member of Westlife, greeted the crowd and said, "Sorry we left you for so long! So, let us bring some old songs back, are you familiar with the song 'My Love'?"
And from there, together with the crowd, the group dramatically performed the song "My Love."
It was then Nicky Byrne's turn to say "hello" to their fans. He once again expressed his disappointment over not meeting his "boxing hero," Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao.
So, to get over with his frustration, he decided to invite four of their fans who were holding banners with messages for them.
Some of the chosen banner statements read, "Nicky, I want twins, can I have your genes?" and "Kian, is it hot in here, or is it just you?"
And with these four fans on stage, the group performed the song "Beautiful."
In the middle of the song, someone from the crowd hurled a bra onstage. Quick on the draw, Kian caught it, read something scribbled on it and threw it back to the crowd.
From smart formal to cool casual, the quartet emerged from backstage at one point donning Mickey Mouse T-shirts, showing off their well-chiseled bodies and brimming with youthful vigor.
They did some more cover songs like, "Speed of Light" by Coldplay, "Only Girl" by Rihanna, and "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga.
As most Westlife fans know, revivals are an integral part of their catalogue. One of last night's crowd pleasers was "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban, which Mark described as "a very inspiring song that makes me feel like I'm in heaven."
Then they proceed on serenading the crowd with their original hits such as "Seasons in the Sun," "I'm Already There," "I Will Reach You," and "Flying Without Wings."
For their finale, the group performed "What About Love." But, when their fans ranted, "We want more!" The group gamely obliged, finally closing with "Up Town Girl."
Although it's been five years since their last concert here, the indefatigable Irish "man band," (as Shane quipped) still captures the hearts of their Filipino fans who packed the Big Dome with delightful nostalgia.
-- Jocelyn Jimenez, PEP