Westlife at the Keepmoat: That’s life as boys go west for a while - Review

Westlife performing at the Keepmoat Stadium
Westlife performing at the Keepmoat Stadium

WESTLIFE kept their fans waiting at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday night.

Rumours that only three of the band had turned up started to circulate the stadium as the show failed to start on time.

Westlife performing at the Keepmoat Stadium

Westlife performing at the Keepmoat Stadium

When the last of the band’s 31 UK shows did finally get under way, with Irish singer/guitarist Glen Calum providing the support, it was followed by another lengthy wait of over half an hour.

With nothing happening on the stage, apart from a brief appearance of a guitar technician, it was left to a couple of men out of the crowd to entertain the fans with their antics in front of the East Stand. Dozens later joined in a conga on the covered section of the pitch

Many fans were clearly frustrated by the delay, which was nothing to do with the stadium.

“It is getting a bit ridiculous now,” said Hull-based Jackie Gedney who, along with her group of friends, had been in the stadium since the gates opened at 5.30pm.

Westlife finally took to the stage around 9.35pm.

After two upbeat songs, Mark Feehily, the one rumoured to have been late, apologised to the crowd on behalf of the band for the delay without offering any explanation.

But he pledged: “We’ll try our very best to make it up to you in the next hour and a half.”

Most of the crowd will probably feel that they did just that with a good selection of songs and their Irish charm proving a winning combination.

Even Jackie admitted: “It was worth waiting for. They were good.”

Credit must also go to the tight four-piece backing group consisting of two guitarists, drummer and keyboard player.

Like them or loathe them, and there are a lot of people who fall into the latter category, Westlife underlined the fact that they can perform equally well live as in the studio – with the acoustics at the stadium helping in that respect.

Shane Filan and Feehily shared the lead vocals on the majority of Westlife songs - which included A World Of Our Own, Flying Without Wings, You Raise Me Up, What About Now (my favourite on the night) and Uptown Girl.

Nicky Byrne and Kian Egan got the chance to showcase their respective talents during a medley of songs by the likes of Rihanna and the Kaiser Chiefs.

There was also plenty of inter-action with the crowd during the evening with Byrne, in particular, wooing the fans.

Their last single, Safe, taken from their current Gravity album, was the worst-performing single of their career and just scraped into the top ten.

When Simon Cowell refused to put out a second song from the album it led to a split earlier this year.

Having heard the band perform Beautiful Tonight, many people will think Cowell got it wrong.

Many of the songs Westlife, who started life as a five-piece, have recorded over the years have been covers.

But the band had far more input on Gravity, with four of the 12 songs having been co-written.

The band have a second greatest hits album coming out later this year and they will be back out on the road again in 2012.

Whether their tour will include a second visit to the Keepmoat Stadium remains to be seen.

Tickets proved more difficult to move than had been anticipated, even though prices were cut during the run-up to the show, and it is unlikely to have been the money-spinner stadium bosses had been hoping for.

But if they do return to the town next year, and you missed out on Saturday, then try and catch them. You might be pleasantly surprised. You will certainly know a lot of their songs.