I was at my first Westlife gig on Friday. As a guest of one of the lads and his wife. As were many in the seats around us. Sligo taking over Dublin. To a degree.
Honestly – I probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise. I’m not their target market I guess. As an old friend of mine who was also at the gig said on Facebook – she ‘enjoyed listening to four Irish men singing about how gorgeous and amazing women are and what dopes men are when they break up with us’.
And that’s what they do. Very well. With some top quality pop songs penned by some of the best in the business. Steve Mac. More recently Ed Sheeran.
The comment I heard most since was ‘What a show’. And it was. Production values through the roof. Timed fireworks, Timed fireballs. Great graphics. Sound crystal clear. A heart-warming pre-recorded segment with the lads talking about how they got into music. Tell the story. No skimping.
But that comment sometimes implies that the music wasn’t much to shout about. Which isn’t the case. And while it’s not the music to which I would usually choose to listen, the songs were so big and such a part of Irish culture that I know most of them. And they sounded great.
There is something about being part of a big crowd who absolutely adores what they are hearing. The atmosphere was incredible. Usually in Croke Park the loudest roar is when a goal is scored by one team or the other. But that means that only half the crowd are shouting while the other half are silent. On Friday night the whole crowd roared as one at times, and it was LOUD. And you couldn’t help but to be swept along.
And that’s partly down to the crowd, who no doubt were up for the gig, but it’s mainly down to the 4 lads, whose experience fronting gigs really showed as they brought the crowd through their 20-year journey, making us all feel a part of it and making sure we knew how much we meant to them. And it was obviously from the heart.
But the vocals were great too. And the band. And the pacing of the show. And the way they never spoke over each other. It was tight, well thought-out and well-rehearsed.
Finally – to enjoy a gig you need to feel connected. And while the majority of the audience felt connected because they knew every word of every song and had followed the lads for years, I also connected with them even though I don’t know any of them well, 3 of the 4 are around my age and we grew up in the same town at the same time. It means something to see people like you bring such joy to so many people. It brings a sense of pride in place.
And it’s no overnight success. They have worked hard, took a risk in coming back like this, and it’s great to see it pay off as they absolutely rocked the worlds of 85,000 people in Croke Park last Friday.
Which is no joke. Hats off lads.