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Westlife review

Nicola Hughes is left flying without wings at the MEN, much to her surprise

Published on March 24th 2011.

Westlife review

So, Westlife’s tenth MEN arena tour. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Four guys in suits sat on stools, who only stand up when they change key’. I was expecting the same but was left pleasantly surprised...

Unrehearsed banter was thrown between them resulting in one of the blonde ones asking a woman in the audience to ‘Trow yer knickers at me’. After she threw these oversized Y-fronts on to the stage they then attempted to all fit in to them, leading the whole stadium to laugh along with them.

I’d been a big fan of Westlife back in my school days but could only remember ‘Flying without wings’ as one of their hits. Assuming I wouldn’t really know any of their songs I wasn’t hyperventilating with excitement like many of the middle-aged women filling the arena.

When Nicky, Kian, Mark and Shane came on stage the crowd went wild. I’m also fairly certain I saw at least seven women faint, although this might have been because the MEN seriously needed some air con. The only emotion that struck me and my friend though was shock, - “They’re old” we both said. I don’t know why, but for some reason we were expecting teenagers with fresh faces and beach blonde hair.

Realising they’d obviously changed a lot since going off my radar, I was even more subdued. But, after hearing their performances of ‘World of our own’ ‘Tell me what makes a man’ ‘Home’ and ‘Rule the World’ I had a realisation. ‘I do still know Westlife songs’ and, unashamedly ‘I do still like them’.

Following renditions of ‘Sleep tonight’ and ‘When you’re looking like that’ Mark took to the mic to introduce the band and speak about their new album ‘Gravity’. This brought about another shock - ‘They’re Irish’ – I’d totally forgotten about that fact seeing as they don’t sound it when they sing.

It wasn’t long before the standard boy band question was passed between me and my friend, ‘Which one’s your favourite?’ I picked Mark, but my answer was based on talent alone. All four of the lads are good singers but Mark is unquestionably superior. His unique voice brought many women to tears last night I’m sure of it. He is also the most entertaining. I was captivated by his performance and couldn’t stop watching his funny antics. It seems that he really is in ‘a world of his own’, like a drunken uncle thrown onto stage, not really knowing what’s going on but loving it all the same.

Although Mark is possibly known as the loose cannon of the group, they do still all gel very well together. They gave the impression of being a really down to earth group of lads who don’t take themselves seriously at all and just love messing around.

Unrehearsed banter was thrown between them resulting in one of the blonde ones asking a woman in the audience to ‘Trow yer knickers at me’. After she threw these oversized Y-fronts on to the stage they then attempted to all fit in to them, leading the whole stadium to laugh along with them.

Another major highlight was when they came on dressed as 80s throw backs, or something you might see hanging around the Northern Quarter. Singing arrangements of Rihanna and Lady Gaga with jovial dance routines, they showed humour, energy and sheer talent.

With sets inspired by RenŠ¹ Magritte and impressive pyrotechnics even the staging was a joy to watch. My only qualm of the evening, would be of the venue itself, after walking 3miles around Manchester to find our seats we were left to sit and melt in the ridiculous heat of the arena. Not to mention the sound - I really don’t understand why it’s necessary to damage a whole audience worth of eardrums in the name of music. Perhaps the MEN have signed a deal with a hearing aid company?

The backing music was actually drowning out their voices at points which was just nonsensical. Finishing up with ‘Flying with out wings’ and an encore of ‘Uptown Girl’ made the deafening sweat box more than bearable though. Even if you’re not a diehard Westlife fan, I’d recommend cathching them the next time they’re in town - if you can get tickets that is.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 24th 2011.

Hmm I think you may have got Mark and Shane mixed up? Their both amazing singers but Shane is definately the most entertaining!!!

AnonymousMarch 24th 2011.

Is this a joke article?

Nicola HughesMarch 24th 2011.

No, I think you'll find I'm correct. My grade 8 singing certificate and GCSE in circus skills make me an authority on such matters. As for a joke article? I don't do jokes.

Alena KaplanMarch 25th 2011.

Yes, I agree with ANONYMOUS#1 that Shane is definately the most entertaining!!! He is full of energy and charisma!!! He's got amazing voice and he's the best singer ever!!! Mark is too tense and clumsy most of the time, although he's a good singer..

Angela BurnsMarch 25th 2011.

mark defo changes the notes etc around too much, too many long notes makes him sound as if he is showing off. he has a great voice and doesnt need to do this. shane is incredible x

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