The Royal Concert Hall may not be packed out, but the crowd here are certainly enthusiastic. It’s an eclectic mix of women, teens, men and children all eagerly anticipating the performance. Does Shane Filan have a nation wide appeal now he’s solo?
After a dramatic entrance where the crowd watch him approach the stage via the screen, Filan bursts onto the stage singing ‘Everything To Me’ from 2013’s solo debut, ‘You and Me’. The crowd are clearly familiar with his solo material, singing along with the star – but it is the old Westlife material that really gets them going.
Belting out “What about now, what about today”, the crowd’s up and swaying around. Filan looks genuinely delighted to hand the mic to the crowd and hear is song sung back to him in perfect union.
Taking to the mic, Filan recounts his fond memories of Nottingham and croons in his northern Irish accent how “Glad he is to be back in Nottingham. There’s an energy to Nottingham. It’s been 15 months and I’ve missed you guys”. Clearly, the feelings reciprocated as he is is repeatedly interrupted with women frantically screaming “I love you Shane!!”
Next up is ‘Effortlessly You’ before the stage goes suddenly pitch black and he crops up and growls ‘hello’. Clearly, the years of Westlife have taught him to be the ultimate performer. He then leads into ‘Home’, a beautiful rendition that hardly misses his fellow band members at all. It’s easy to see why his solo efforts have been such a success.
After enthusing about Michael Jackson, who he “Waited for 17 years for him to come to Dublin” he takes the crowd back with ‘Swear it All Over Again’ before moving onto a modern cover of “Shut Up and Dance With Me” by Walk The Moon, sparking a total disco grooving amongst the fans. The band were clearly loving it too, with Filan doing some epic air guitar. Proving to be a king of theatrics, he hides and adopts a Freddy Mercury-esq stance at the top of the stairs whilst his band jam out together. A real ‘rock and roll’ finish from the ex-Boyband star.
There is a long heavy, bass build up before he burst into well received ‘World of Our Own’. He flirtatiously teases the crowd by removing his jacket with a cheeky Irish wink and laughs about how reading will be mad on Twitter now he’s said Nottingham is his favorite crowd.
Next up is ‘Worst kind of love’ which is very strong vocally before he sings his ‘favourite’ track that he ‘can’t believe he wrote it’ which is the gorgeous ‘I Can’t Get Over You’. It’s a beautiful track but the crowd ruins its emotional impact buy consciously shouting out. Then is ‘Fool again’ which Filan sings with a proud grin. Filan is clearly very proud of everything Westlife achieved and is happy to celebrate their achievements amongst his solo material, which he celebrates in the next track with 2013’s ‘Knee Deep in Her Heart’ and with epic duet ‘I Could Be’ with Girls Aloud’s Nadine Cole. The title track ‘Right Here’ comes next, which he proclaims is the ‘type of song he loves to sing’. And the track suits him well, as he performs it with a pristine vocal with a commanding presence. The final track is a popular one, giving a rendition of Westlife’s well known rendition of Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ which has the crowds dancing about. Filan had no problem dominating such a huge song on his own.
For the encore, the theatrics are not dulled down. There is a slow guitar as the band reassembles, as the drummer joins in with a slow, steady beat. Filan joins the stage, and sings new single ‘Man On the Moon’. Afterwards, the band begin to play the next track before Filan stops them in their tracks. He speaks so highly of the crowd and comes across as a genuinely thankful man. He says “he genuinely won’t forget it” and thanks the crowd over and over again. It’s a very touching moment.
Encapsulating the fun-filled show, he plays his ‘favourite song to sing in the last ten years’ – ‘You Raise Me Up’. The crowd love it and get their iPhone’s out, shining their torches along to the song. It’s not quite lighters at Glasto but, what did you expect at an ex-Westlife gig? Still, it feels special – touching even, and the gig comes to a romantic, almost poetic close.