Westlife | 3 October 2011 | Singapore Indoor Stadium

A screaming crowd greeted Westlife at the Indoor Stadium on Monday night as the boyband made its dramatic appearance on stage. With their 90-minute performance in Singapore, the four lads proved their staying power with their vocal ability and capability to sell out half the stadium (a feat that even Slash couldn’t accomplish earlier this year).

The demographics of their audience in Singapore (and probably around the world too) seem to change every time they perfom here, as hardly anyone below the age of 20 was present on Monday night at the boyband’s fourth performance here, and many seniors were seen in the crowd (and even the ratio of men to women was nearly 1:1!). This was clearly a sign that times have changed, a fact that the band acknowledged, as they asked the audience “who used to listen to us in high school? Man, that makes us feel old!”

Despite this tour being named “The Gravity Tour”, the lads of Westlife performed mainly their older and bigger hits, opening with When You’re Looking Like That, and singing hits such as My Love, World Of Our Own and What Makes A Man. With four costume changes throughout their performance and four of them taking turns to speak to the audience, Mark, Shane, Kian and Nicky were able to continually entertain the crowd. They seemed like they could do no wrong with this audience, as fans cheered and sang along to every song. Even non-fans cannot deny that the lads can sing, with as Shane had pitch-perfect singing and Mark thrilled the crowd with his vocal flair.

However, their performance was also lacking as their set consisted of too many covers, such as Home, What About Now, Seasons In The Sun, Uptown Girl and You Raise Me Up. It is a pity that they often do not perform some of their popular originals, such as Amazing and Us Against the World, which leads to them being labeled as a “cover band”. The medley of covers (Viva La Vida, Only Girl, The Time, Bad Romance) in the middle of their set was also just bizarre and totally cringe-worthy. Many also commented that Westlife did not perform arguably their biggest hit, Swear It Again. Overall, the entire concert came off as a well-rehearsed routine rather than a fresh and exciting performance, unsurprising since they have been on this tour since April.

But while they did perform songs from their newest album, Gravity (released in 2010), such as Safe, Beautiful Tonight and I Will Reach You, songs from their other recent albums were avoided. The only other more recent songs they performed were What About Now, Home and I’m Already There. Noticeably, they avoided performing songs from the albums that Simon Cowell had pushed them to release, namely, the Turnaround, Allow Us To Be Frank and Love albums. Perhaps it was due to them leaving his label on bad terms earlier this year? We can only speculate.

This concert was also a testament to the evolution of Westlife, as they chose to focus on the singing this time instead of the pelvic thrusting at their previous concert. Even their dance routines were limited, with them only busting out the cheesy boyband moves at the end of the concert with Uptown Girl. Their performance this time also felt more down-to-earth, as the band attempted to engage fans much more, bringing some of them on stage, and also acknowledging that without all the fans, “we (they) would be nothing”. They even mentioned that their cover of You Raise Me Up from their Face to Face album is “probably the only reason why we’re (they’re) still around”. Say what you will about boybands, but while Take That and Boyzone broke up and reunited again, these four lads have been soldiering on for 13 years, released 11 albums and have sold over 40 million records.

(Melissa Ng)