Nicky Byrne reflects on the history of Westlife

Westlife star Nicky Byrne reflected on the band’s history ahead of their first performance at Wembley Stadium, saying the Irish band’s hiatus has led to “two completely different bands”.

Byrne, 43, found fame with Westlife with Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Brian McFadden. The group disbanded in 2012 after 14 successful years, before reuniting in 2018.

Speaking of the changes he’s witnessed since the band formed in 1998, including the departure of 42-year-old McFadden in 2004, Byrne said: “To be honest with you, it’s weird, I think we’re actually like two different groups.

“The band we are now and the band we were from 1998 are two completely different bands.

“Obviously we’re the same people, and all of those hit songs that we had in our early years are fundamental to our continued careers. However, we had a seven-year sabbatical in the middle of it all and I think we all grew up at that time.

“We got together when we were kids, we did 14 years in a row, we lost Brian after five years, then we had eight years without Brian, people forget that it was so long after Brian, that we did not stop.

“And then when we broke up in 2012, we literally looked into each other’s eyes, and we were like, this is it.” He added: “Then when we were all ready to come back to the group, we all had an approach to how we saw Westlife 2.0.”

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Reflecting on the band’s legacy, which achieved 13 Irish number one singles and nine number one albums, Byrne reflected on growing their fan base.

“We came back to the stage after seven years, and we saw in the concerts in 2019, the people, the fans, seem to have grown up and enjoyed the break too,” he said.

“All of a sudden we have guys coming to shows, husbands, boyfriends, partners of our young fans who are now women and boys who are now men. I don’t know how the explain.

“It’s almost like a family day out, there are kids now coming to gigs who have no idea who Westlife is but their parents are bringing them, there are guys coming in who never have loved Westlife but it’s a great night.” So, have we changed? I would say unrecognizable.”

As for the band’s future, Byrne hasn’t ruled out the use of AI technology, similar to that used by Abba in their current Abba Voyage gig residency and recently hailed by Mick Jagger.

He said: “I haven’t seen the Abba show in real life, but I’ve seen clips online and it looks phenomenal. I don’t think Westlife is at a stage where we need to consider something like that and we’re that far from the legacy or the level of Abba or the Rolling Stones, but we keep surprising ourselves.

“I mean we’re doing Wembley Stadium for the first time in our lives…And there’s things in the time you go, ‘it doesn’t slow down’.”

Ahead of playing at Wembley Stadium for the very first time on August 6 – which will also be shown live in cinemas across the UK and Ireland – Byrne added: “We are ready for one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic in the world.

“We don’t take this lightly because we’ve never done Wembley Stadium. All the things we’ve been through, 23 years, everything from number one to losing a band member, passing through marriages and children.

Adding: “We’re leading up to something quite emotional actually.”

Westlife – Live From Wembley Stadium airs at 8.30pm on Saturday August 6th. There will be encore screenings at 3 p.m. in theaters on Sunday, August 7.

For more information and to find movie locations, visit westlifeincinemas.com.

Source: Press Association