Westlife Arena Tour In Full Swing
Irish boy band and U.K. chart mainstay Westlife has embarked on a record-breaking "Coast To Coast" debut arena tour, which reaches its fourth show tonight (Feb. 13) at the Telewest Arena in Newcastle-Irish boy band and U.K. chart mainstay Westlife has embarked on a record-breaking "Coast To Coast" debut arena tour, which reaches its fourth show tonight (Feb. 13) at the Telewest Arena in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northeast England.
The 51-date trek includes 10- and 11-night residencies at London's Wembley Arena and Dublin's the Point, respectively. With estimated ticket sales of 500,000, the RCA group's road trip is the biggest U.K. & Ireland arena tour ever, beating the previous record held by Ebul/Jive pop act Steps.
Scalpers were much in evidence at Friday night's show, the first of five dates in Newcastle. Clad in space-age suits and harnesses, the quintet delighted fans by sailing stageward in the opening moments of their first-ever full live show. Although Westlife reached No. 1 in the U.K. with seven consecutive ballads, the pace of the show, while hardly frantic, was uptempo with such numbers as "While You're Looking Like That" and Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" accompanied by choreography by former Take That danceman Kim Gavin.
Slower songs in the set pared the performance down to simple imagery, allowing the vocals of Shane Filan and Mark Feehily to shine on such songs as "If I Let You Go." The 90-minute performance ended high above the crowd with a remarkably literal interpretation of "Flying Without Wings."
The cover of Joel's "Uptown Girl" will be the group's next release, due from RCA on March 5 as the official single of this year's Comic Relief charity appeal. The supporting video for the track features an appearance by supermodel Claudia Schiffer, echoing the original, which featured Joel's then wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley.
Meanwhile, Westlife's Christmas release "What Makes A Man," which became the group's first single not to reach No. 1 in the U.K., is enjoying a new lease of life on the chart, where it has rebounded 38-17 over the past two weeks.d