Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
When the Irish boyband Westlife announce they were reforming to go on tour for the first time in six years, demand for tickets was so huge that they had to announce extra dates. fast forward a few months and the atmosphere in Leeds First Direct Arena was buzzing with excitement. A huge LED screen lit with their faces gave the impression of a 3D experience as the stage appeared to zoom forward at speed before parting in the middle and the four Westlife superstars appeared on a platform above the stage. Opening with a recent hit ‘Hello My Love’ the crowd went wild and with an explosion of powderfetti and the end of the first song, you just knew you were in for a spectacular visual display as well as performing some of their biggest hits to date.
With various costume changes throughout the night, Westlife made sure this reunion was everything the fans wanted and more. Whilst they may not be everyones cup of tea, their foot tapping hits are sure to be known be just about everyone. You don’t have to be one of Westlife’s fans to enjoy one of their concerts, they sounded better than ever as they stormed through a 19 song set list.
Westlife were supported by Keelie Walker. The urban pop singer’s first ever show was opening for pop superstar Jason Derulo at The SSE Arena, Wembley, last October, and now she is on the road with the British boyband on their ‘Twenty Tour’ – which comes to The O2 arena in London on June 13, 14 and 15 – to mark the ‘Flying Without Wings’ hitmakers’ 20th anniversary. Not a bad start to her career especially as she is still only 15 years old.
Buzzing to be returning to UK soil after supporting Jason Derulo on his UK arena tour, 15 year old Keelie expresses her excitement “to be a part of the Westlife Twenty tour and to be coming back performing for everyone at arenas across the UK is amazing, I can’t wait.” She continues “to be an opening act on such a massive tour, performing my own songs, is really a dream come true for me and I couldn’t be more thankful”
It is always nerve wracking opening any show but the singer from Nashville looked relaxed and confident as she took to the stage and for the next 30 mins or so proved why she is definitely one to watch.
With their current single ‘Gasoline’ scaling the US charts, sibling-trio The Rua return home to join Westlife on their UK arena tour. The classically trained musicians – Roseanna, lead vocals, guitar / Alanna, piano and BVs / Jonathan, violin, guitar, vocals – have been likened to The Corrs, Haim and Fleetwood Mac for their blend of harmony driven, cinematic pop.
Signed to US based FOD Records, the band has spent the last three years touring North America performing headline shows, countless radio sessions and opening for artists including Train, LeAnn Rimes, Goo Goo Dolls, Adam Lambert and The Plain White T’s.
Their debut album ‘Essence’ was heralded as “an astonishingly assured collection”, with Billboard tipping them as one of ‘Tomorrows Hits’ and Q Magazine awarding it 4 stars ‘the crystalline voices and melodies shine.” ‘Gasoline’ has spent 11 weeks on the US Billboard Adult Pop chart and the band recently spoke with Billboard about their Top 30 US hit, writing the new music, and appearing in several Harry Potter films. I thought they were great, and deserved a better reaction from the crowd than they got, but it is always going to be hard when the crowd is not really there to see you.. Definitely another one to watch out for .