Friday, September 22, 2006
The Turnaround Tour
Live from the Globe in Stockholm, this gem was the band's first tour outing with only four members and, it has to be said, it's as if Bryan never existed. The lad's are completely exumberant, every note is top-notch, and not one foot is put wrong even though these dances are among some of the most complex they've ever had to undertake. There's a renewed sense of energy, as though all four of them are charged up to their fullest power.
The show starts with a wonderfully clever montage of Westlife - as cartoons - broken by Kian's wolf-whistle. The storm into the title track - Turnaround - and the energy doesn't let up for a second, even though the tempo might. It's a little disconcerting, at first, to hear Nicky, Kian and Mark fill the space Bryan's voice has left, but they don't put a foot wrong with it, from Nicky's 'My Love' to Kian's 'When You're Looking Like That' to Mark's 'Tonight'.
As far as the songs go, there's a surprise inclusion of My Girl (which hasn't been heard since the first tour), and the new songs 'Turnaroud', 'Mandy, 'Obvious' and 'On My Shoulder' are beautifully sung, the latter two makign up part of the usual 'flying above the audience' section, though this time they don't so much fly as strut, on a suspended walkway stretching out into the centre of the arena.
The 'breakdown' section is a particular stunning addition. Easily some of the best performances of the show, the lads present stripped down performances of some of their biggest hits with only a piano and saxophone for accompaniment, as well as Kian's frenetic guitar skills, of course. Their voices are pure and clear, and a way to take a quick breather after all the exhausting vigour of the opening set, though it's far from boring.
But the standout of the night has to be the medley. While the medleys of past years have been exciting little insertions into the grand scheme of the show, this one easily outstrips them all. It's bursting with crazed exhilaration, the four lads stomping, spinning and cheering to 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go', 'That's The Way (I Like It), 'Help!', 'I'll Be There For You', and 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love'. But rather than divide the songs between the boys as they did the previous year, this one feels like a real team effort, all of them playing off each other and laughing. And bloody hell, they do well singing too.
If you can only get one Westlife DVD... it's gotta be this one. An unmissible addition to any collection.