Review: Sell-out crowd, stand-out hits - Westlife's Twenty Tour storms Dubai
Nicky, Mark, Shane and Kian
IT WASN'T LOOKING too hopeful. 7.45pm and the 17,000 capacity Coca-Cola Arena in City Walk was barely half full. The tickets clearly stated the concert's kick-off was imminent. Had Westlife's allure waned during their six-year 2012-2018 hiatus? Perhaps a boy band, having formed two decades previous, no longer held the same cache as some of the newer K-Poppers currently taking up residence in the charts? Not so. Running true to form, the Dubai crowd outdid themselves by managing to pile in at the last possible moment - seconds before the group took to the stage to raise the curtain on the latest Twenty Tour date. From that instant the receptive noise was deafening, which was pretty much par for the course for the remainder of the evening.
Comforting and communal - like slurping down a warm cup of your grandma's cocoa in familial company - nostalgia enveloped this performance. From tracks including Swear It Again, which drew one of the biggest cheers to the retro costumes (double denim and quasi navy uniforms anyone?), the show began and ended with a tribute to the quartet's enduring popularity. The mid-section, however, was dedicated to a quite different genre. A multi-song Queen melody had us questioning how much the licensing fees for tunes such as Don't Stop Me Now and We Are The Champions may have cost. Whatever the price, it was worth it. A major contributing element to the feel-good factor: you had Westlife's charm and Queen's rock and roll; a delicious cocktail.
There was the usual national roll call about three-quarters through where screams from the assembly's Irish contingent were only bettered by those from the Philippines and, before all too soon, everything came to an end. Cue a decent encore rendition of Flying Without Wings followed by genuine 'thank-yous'...what a night, what a ride.
Shane Filan on social media
Dubai you were so loud!!! Was great to be back .. what a show !& what a great venue !Thank you #westlifetwentytour @ Cocacolaarena
The sell-out audience at the Westlife show