Title: Westlife Live in Manila concert review
Written by Danica Haresco
Edited by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Ed Clinton Go
There’s nothing quite like the triple threat of ballad, boy-band and nostalgia. For Pinoys who are romantics at heart it conjures up images of harana and those old bittersweet memories you love to replay in your mind again and again. Concertgoers got a lot of that at Westlife’s concert last September 29, 2011 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. During the show even the Irish singers themselves commented that they met a girl who told them that Westlife’s songs got them through grade school.
From start to finish Smart Araneta Coliseum was jam-packed with squeals, cheers, and applause. The concert was smartly kicked off with the group’s timeless hits “When You’re Looking Like That,” “World Of Our Own,” “What Makes A Man,” “Flying Without Wings,” “Seasons In The Sun,” and “My Love.” What followed was a 15 song strong setlist which included “Home, and “You Raise Me Up.” Adding spice to the night were the lively covers of Rihanna’s Only Girl (In The World)”, The Black Eyed Peas’ “Time Of My Life (Dirty Bit),” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. Although they’ve clearly matured, the boys were still able to put on a show, smiling every minute, dancing effortlessly, grooving to the music, and thanking their fans after nearly every song with Shane and Kian even commenting that it was the “liveliest crowd that they’ve ever seen”
What made the night even more special was how the band connected with their fans. Nicky and Kian took videos of the crowd with their camera phones for a video diary they were making to show their family in Ireland, and at one point the group brought up four fans that they deemed held the best banners in the audience. To cap the night Nicky Byrne requested the crowd to do a giant wave, a “Mexican wave” he said, which he regally renamed a “Manila wave”. No one complained about that!
But like what many artists say (and this writer wholeheartedly believes is true) the best gift a musician can give to his fans is his performance. After leaving the stage, the crowd hollered for an encore and the boys happily obliged, ending the night just the way it began, by singing their hits. Westlife capped the night with the songs “What About Now” and “Uptown Girl” before declaring their hopes that this will not be their last Manila show. Indeed, the boys have captured a piece of every heart present in Smart Araneta Coliseum and we hope that through their 30’s, 40’s or even 50’s they will come back and create great musical memories with their Pinoy fans over and over again.