SINGAPORE (Aug 15): One of the biggest boy band acts of yesteryear, Westlife, proved that they still had the vocals and the moves to match, as they thrilled and wooed a 20,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium last Saturday, 10 August. The performance was part of the Singapore leg of the band’s ongoing Twenty Tour.

There was no dampening the spirits of the crowd despite the show starting late – many of the ardent supporters were on their feet from start to finish, fists punching into the night sky with every thumping beat.

The all-Irish group, comprising members Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, and Kian Egan, had the crowd in the palms of their hands as they belted out the feel-good hits that the group has become famous for, coupled with some fresh new material. With songs like “My love”, “Up Town girl”, “Swear It Again”, “If I Let You Go”, and “Flying Without Wings” reverberating throughout the stadium, it was hard not to feel nostalgic and get swept away by the band’s everlasting boyish charm.

The group even had time for a rocking medley of Queen’s greatest hits – they also threw a few new songs such as Hello My Love, written by British pop star Ed Sheeran. It was a typically hot night in Singapore and the heat did not go unnoticed by the members, who often cracked jokes about it.

The all-male group which was the talk of the town back in 1999 after their eponymous album – has gone through a lot in the past two decades. It all started out when the band’s fifth member, Brian McFadden made a departure in 2004 to pursue a solo career at the height of their popularity. While the high-profile split is said to have caused bad blood between him and his bandmates, the team eventually disbanded in 2012 as they got married and had kids. After all that they decided to reunite in 2018, much to the delight of fans in Singapore and around the world.

And testament to that is that some of the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for a lucky young lady as her boyfriend’s audacious move of proposing to her on-stage in the middle of the concert paid off handsomely. The team executed this beautifully, by calling up two Irish women on stage, claiming it was part of their routine of including audience members in their acts. And just as they were about to start singing, one of the girl's boyfriends came from behind and knelt on one knee. Later, the members of the group gamely crooned Better Man, one of their new singles, to the newly-engaged couple.

The Asian leg of the tour began in late July and will see the band also visiting Thailand, Macau, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysi, China and the UAE.

With their slick combination of old and new, Westlife proved that, twenty years on, they can indeed still fly without wings.