The boys used Australia as a dress-rehearsal this year, kicking off the tour in Perth before heading to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and, tonight, Brisbane.
For the most part, it was a success. The song choices were the usual bland hits mixed with a few of the covers from the love album, but sung with such novel passion that they were instantly gratifying. It probably helps that it's only been a week, and they haven't gotten sick of the songs yet. They were all sung with infectious enthusiasm.
The medley was fantastic; a tribute to boybands heralded by a voiceover suggesting that once upon a time, four boys (I'm not even going to start on what's wrong with that number) spent their time in their bedrooms, copying the moves of their idols, before becoming the successes they are today. And so followed a raging party of boyband hits, including New Kids On The Block, Boyzone, Take That, Backstreet Boys, and Bros, danced with carbon-copy moves that managed to be delightfully cheeky, rather than cheesy and contrived.
Some song choices, though, were baffling. The performance of You Are So Beautiful, during which only Shane and Mark graced the stage, and Nicky and Kian were nowhere to be seen, was jarring. Not to mention, rather insulting to the missing boys and more evidence of the fact that Westlife has become vastly asymmetrical over recent years.
But the songs that worked went down a storm. When You're Looking Like That, Amazing, My Love, and plenty of the other usual songs were performed with passion and fun, and the newer covers from The Love Album, Easy and Total Eclipse of the Heart were great new additions to round out the old standards. If only they hadn't cut Love Can Build A Bridge after the second show.
Also, it's too bad the show didn't go on longer, the running time feeling just slightly too brief at one hour and twenty minutes.
So, on the whole, a great night and a worthy addition to the Westlife tour catalogue, but not one of their best. It mostly holds itself on the strength of the medley, and on the spirit of the boys whom, after eight years, show no sign of faltering.
On a personal note, you'd think people would know that they're going to a concert by a boyband, and not get cranky because teenage girls are standing, dancing and screaming. Thankyou Mr Security Man for informing Mr and Mrs Crankypants of their mistake. If he would like any help, I can give them a map to the nearest bowls club, library, or RSL. They can sit down there, instead of ruining the first two songs for me by complaining.