Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

The Irish group covered Queen, helped out with a proposal, and brought 20,000 concertgoers back to the early 2000s at their 'Twenty Tour'.

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Photos: UnUsUaL Entertainment; Instagram/Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan

I have a vivid memory from my early secondary days: it was the end of the school year, so each class got to throw their own party, complete with food and music. Excited to contribute to the latter, I brought along my personal collection of CDs (age reveal alert), including one of Westlife’s albums.

I popped it into the player and hoped that at least some people would start getting excited and start singing along.

No one cared. Oh well. Life went on.

Fast-forward to last Saturday night (Aug 10), and I finally got to experience what it was like to participate in a mass karaoke session of Westlife hits. What’s more, I got to do it with 20,000 other equally pumped fans in the National Stadium.

While member Shane Filan has held several solo showcases on our sunny shores in more recent years, The Twenty Tour marked the whole group’s (well, minus Brian McFadden, who left in 2004) return to the little red dot for the first time since 2011, and also for the first time since they reunited in 2018 following a six-year split.

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Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Needless to say, Singapore was all ready to welcome Westlife back with open arms - and deafening cheers.

The tracks that were met with the rowdiest reactions were, unsurprisingly, older classics such as ‘World of Our Own’, ‘My Love’, ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘Queen of My Heart’, and ‘Fool Again’. Not only was there a surge in the volume levels of screams and singing along, but also in the number of phone screens that would light up - mine included - to immortalise those moments of euphoric nostalgia via video recording.

Another personal highlight for me was their medley of Queen hits (the two groups are rumoured to be collaborating on a “secret project”). Although Westlife frankly did not quite possess the inimitable pizzazz of the late Freddie Mercury, they did a decent job covering arena-worthy anthems like ‘We Are The Champions’ (not belting the chorus at the top of your lungs is not an option), and ‘We Will Rock You’ (doing the stomp-stomp-clap part never gets old).

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Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

About halfway through the 90-minute gig, Mark Feehily announced that they would get a few fans to join them on stage for a song. Two women (Westlife’s fellow Ireland natives) were selected - but the singalong invitation turned out to be a ruse.

Instead, a man suddenly emerged from backstage, got down on one knee, and asked one of the ladies to marry him. Fortunately, she said yes (can you imagine if she had rejected him!?), and Westlife serenaded the newly engaged couple with one of their newer singles ‘Better Man’ (which was penned by Ed Sheeran, by the way).

Remember when a woman popped the question to her boyfriend at the International Champions Cup three weeks earlier? Could the National Stadium be on its way to becoming a hotspot for high-profile, “spoil market” proposals?

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Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Anyway, back to the concert. Since it was a celebration of Westlife’s 20th anniversary, it was only natural for the band to reminisce about the past, including the time they visited the Lion City for the first time in 2000.

“In 1998, we signed a record deal and sang songs called ‘Swear It Again’ and ‘Flying Without Wings’; from then on, our lives changed,” said Nicky Byrne, adding that nothing could have prepared them for the overwhelming reception at the airport, where thousands had turned up to welcome them.

“It’s hard to believe that people from halfway around the world know our songs and our names,” confessed Mark. Yet, despite their massive success, they still had their reservations about officially getting back together again.

“We worried if we still had it, and if anybody still cared,” Kian Egan mused.

They clearly didn’t need to doubt themselves: judging from the turnout and response from the crowd in the stadium (which Shane proudly pointed out was the largest indoor venue they’ve ever played), Westlife are still very much the kings of fans’ hearts.

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts
12 Aug 2019

Westlife are still the kings of Singapore fans’ hearts

Related:
Shane Filan, the kiasu parent
In a ‘World of Our Own’ with Shane Filan
Ed Sheeran has written half of Westlife's new album

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