Westlife’s Nicky Byrne promises ‘brilliant’ gig in Abu Dhabi E! News UK

Westlife last performed in Dubai in 2019 (Pictures: KT File)

Westlife will take the stage at the Etihad Arena on September 29.

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 13:59

Last update: Thu Sep 15, 2022 2:04 PM

When we asked Nicky Byrne of Irish boyband veteran Westlife how it felt to be back on the road after the Covid-19 lockdowns, he mused: ‘Obviously the two, three year olds have been mad . At some point, we all wondered – could we ever come back to do the job that we all love to do, which is being on stage singing songs? And that really can’t be enjoyed unless you have big crowds, which are worth it.”

He added: “The fans play an important, if not the most important, part of all of this. And during the pandemic, I guess people wondered if we’d have those big crowds again. But eventually, we’re slowly coming back but sure. So it’s a real joy to be back, because I guess we all take things for granted; it’s something that we all learned during this time.”

Westlife are set to make their Abu Dhabi debut at the Etihad Arena, Yas Island on September 29 as part of their Wild Dreams Tour. They will present their 18th studio album, wild dreamsreleased in 2021, along with a host of classic hits.

As a fan who attended one of the band’s first concerts in the region at the Dubai Media City amphitheater in 2005, I can see why this melodically gifted quartet who have sung such memorable tunes since rising to fame in 1999 with the ubiquitous single Swear it againwill always wield the power to draw crowds.

And despite the ups and downs encountered over a career spanning more than 20 years, including the loss of original member Bryan McFadden in 2004 at the height of Westlife fame, the band is still going strong. A split happened in 2012 but much to the delight of die-hard fans, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Nicky reunited in 2018.

The BRIT award winners last performed in Dubai in 2019 as part of their “Twenty Tour”, which marked the completion of the group’s two decades in the music industry.

Nicky spoke to City hours on the secret to Westlife’s longevity, lasting success, fan-favorite songs and growing up with his bandmates.

You have always had a loyal fanbase in the UAE. What do you think of your first performance in Abu Dhabi and what can fans expect from this concert?

We were traveling in the Middle East from 2000/2001. We were doing shows in different territories there. Wonderful awesome place, great place to put on a show.

Our show in Dubai in 2019 was amazing. There were also a lot of people from Ireland living there now; it was great to see Irish people. Lots of nationalities actually, and yes, the Middle Eastern crowd has always been big supporters of the band.

I think it will be very exciting now to go to Abu Dhabi and see what it has in store for all of us, because it is really exciting that the Westlife group and brand, after 23 years, are still traveling very far and doing gigs. It’s an exciting time!

Fans at the 2019 Westlife concert in Dubai

Fans at the 2019 Westlife concert in Dubai

Westlife first found success in the late 90s – then broke up in 2012 and returned in 2018. At this point in your career, how do you view your development as a band?

Well, I said it in an interview recently – I think we’re a completely different band and have completely changed since the early days.

Our music, although pop, has grown. As guys aged 42 to 43, I think we’ve matured, grown a lot and I think we can relax a bit and enjoy it a bit more.

Obviously we’ve been doing this since we were 18-19, but I guess when we had that hiatus in 2012 for seven years, we all went away and lived our lives and did different things. I hosted radio and TV in Ireland and we all had solo albums too. And we brought all those experiences to the group. So I think it made a much better band. I think we have grown.

Nicky performing at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai in 2019

Nicky performing at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai in 2019

Westlife had sold out shows some time ago at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Many bands don’t stand the test of time, even though their songs may endure. What do you think is the secret to your longevity and how do you inspire yourself on a daily basis?

I think first and foremost, in any group of guys or girls, whether it’s a band or family or co-workers, when you’re in a band for as long as we are, we’re all of those things. We’re friends, we’re almost family at this point, and we work hard because we also run a business.

So I think you have to trust each other and be faithful to each other; these are the most important things. You have to be careful with each other because people have individual ups and downs. We have all matured over the years. We’ve all been through everything from marriages, babies, parent deaths…so we have this pretty close relationship with each other.

And then, as a company, we have to watch out for each other. When we record and promote albums, we want to make sure that everyone feels satisfied when they engage, and obviously on stage. But we love it!

It’s a job that few people in the world can do, and we don’t take it for granted. I guess we try to take each day as it comes and feel like we’re very lucky, hard-working guys.

Your The biggest hits The album re-entered the official Irish charts after your concerts with Aviva, returning to the Top 5. How did you feel?

I guess music brings people back to different parts of their lives, to different experiences and memories, so when they come to a show it brings back all of those things, whether it’s a former boyfriend or girlfriend or a wedding song or a holiday or a baby…

The Westlife show is – especially at the stage where we are in our current career – reliving those shining moments that you had.

So we like that. And curiously, while we are on stage, we relive moments when we were on stage! More recently we remembered the time we did it in Dublin when we were 18, 19, 20. And I think we will also have that when we play in the Middle East this time.

Westlife’s twelfth studio album, wild dreams, is a record you worked on during the pandemic. What are the themes that shaped the album? Do you have a favorite track?

Well, I think (that was) all the world was going through. Many of the lyrics of Wild Dreams were taken from what was happening in the world at that time.

There’s a song I co-wrote called Living, and I looked ahead; it was about watching when the world opens up again. I wrote it in the summer of 2021 with a bunch of Irish guys called Picture This – very cool, very talented guys.

Among the band’s vast musical repertoire, what are some enduring favorites at a live gig?

Twenty-three years… I hate to use the word legacy, but there are those songs that I guess will be there and kind of be given to us forever. world to us is a. You lift me up, swear again, fly without wings, my love, when you look like thisand Uptown Girla big charity record with Claudia Schiffer in the video…

Then at the meeting we had Good morning my love – a large return disc. songs like If I let you go – a big summer record in 1999. Also, And now was a big record for us in 2009. We probably didn’t mention a few, but all of these songs really stand the test of time for Westlife and bring people back.

Which Westlife track best captures your harmony as a band?

When you say harmony, I assume you mean the kind of respect and friendship we have with each other. What song represents this? Most likely world to us, because I think it’s really about being in your own mind, your own space, your own time, your own fun little ways that can reach everyone individually. But I think as a band it’s a great song to play live, a big part of the atmosphere.

Fans are an integral part of any artist’s success. Over the years, your music continues to strike a chord with new fans. What do the fans mean to you and what message would you have for those living in the UAE?

Without the fans, we have nothing. They bring great energy, a great vibe to any live show. Every time we go on stage and experience these things, we really come off the stage feeling lucky, feeling refreshed.

These days, getting older, feeling a little tired… but don’t get me wrong, we love our gigs and our fans bring all of those things. We can’t wait to experience that again in the United Arab Emirates. It will be a brilliant show, you will enjoy it, I promise you.

Tickets for Westlife’s Wild Dreams Abu Dhabi Tour are available at www.ticketmaster.ae