Sway and wave

Still here, right now – Ir­ish pop group Westlife hasn’t changed one bit, and we love it.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By NASA MARIA ENTABAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

EVERY­THING about Ir­ish boy band Westlife is pretty much the same to­day as nearly 13 years ago, when the group re­leased its first sin­gle Swear It Again. Well, al­most every­thing – Brian Mc­Fad­den left the band in 2004.

Mark Fee­hily, 31, Kian Egan, 31, Shane Filan, 32, and Nicky Byrne, 32, have stuck to their nice-guy im­age and melodic love bal­lads, and over the years they’ve be­come known for re­leas­ing many rein­ter­pre­ta­tions of prom­i­nent songs.

While au­di­ences grad­u­ally lose in­ter­est in boy bands and power bal­lads, crav­ing over-the-top cos­tumes and high-tech mul­ti­me­dia vi­su­als at live shows, you have to won­der what it is about Westlife that had a sta­dium full of peo­ple (mostly teenagers and youth adults) sway­ing and singing along to its songs at last Fri­day’s Grav­ity Tour con­cert in Kuala Lumpur.

There were no back-up dancers, no spe­cial vis­ual ef­fects and no crazy cos­tumes (although, the boys did change out­fits four times), but you couldn’t ask for a bet­ter au­di­ence than the ador­ing crowd at Sta­dium Pu­tra, Bukit Jalil. To man­age to stay to­gether and out­last most of its boy band peers and still re­ceive that sort of hero-wor­ship from fans young and old, you have to won­der what Westlife’s se­cret is.

It also helps that the mem­bers have re­tained much of their boy­ish and play­ful charm while adding some adult pol­ish to the equa­tion in re­cent years. The group, now on to its 11th al­bum ( Grav­ity), is one of the few in­ter­na­tional acts ca­pa­ble of pulling off a 10-date Asian tour (span­ning China, South Korea to the South East Asian cap­i­tals). Very much a box-of­fice cer­tainty, Westlife is no stranger to packed are­nas.

In some karaoke joints in Asia, Westlife also has its own song­book. Pop­u­lar is an un­der­state­ment when it comes to this group.

At a press con­fer­ence be­fore the show, Fee­hily couldn’t have put it bet­ter when he said “We’ve al­ways fo­cused on not how to get peo­ple’s at­ten­tion, we just fo­cus on mak­ing mu­sic that peo­ple like.”

“We’ve never changed our for­mat, we do a lot of love songs and bal­lads, and peo­ple like that,” he added.

Their win­ning game plan still works - the boys brought the house

Fly­ing With­out Wings, What Makes A Man and I Will Reach You, went down well with the masses.

These power bal­lads, sung in per­fect har­mony in all their cheesi­ness were a clear re­minder to fans (and crit­ics alike!) as to why Westlife have stood the test of time and will con­tinue to do so.

For as long as peo­ple fall in love, some­body needs to sound­track those feel­ings.

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