Not many boybands stand the test of time but Sligo’s finest export certainly have.
Shooting up onto the stage from trapdoors, the Irish heartthrobs looked like they were having the time of their lives as they air-grabbed, serenaded and even twerked their way through what was 90 minutes of pure pop heaven.
“Aberdeen are you ready for a party,” they shouted to the sound of 9,200 deafening cheers, claps and whistles.
Judging by the electrifying response from the sell-out crowd, it’s clear that Westlife’s hits have been the soundtrack to people’s lives over the past 23 years as their Wildest Dreams Tour reached the Granite City.
Proving that the oldies are always the goodies, the boys, sporting white and black ensembles, energetically performed a back catalogue of their greatest hits.
From the high octane When You’re Looking Like That – complete with accompanying hot flame pyrotechnics – to ballads like Swear It Again and Fool Again, the forty-something foursome proved that they’ve still got it when it comes to pop pizzazz.
After performing the power ballad Oh Mandy, Shane, Kian, Mark and Nicky showed that they’re up for laugh with their fans as they invited anyone called Mandy onto the stage.
Shout out to superfan Katie from Aberdeen who got her big moment on stage with her idols not long after giving birth.
“My baby was meant to be born on the 11th of November so I thought I wouldn’t be able to go to this gig so we went to see you (Westlife) in Dublin instead,” Katie told the audience.
“But he was actually born on 18th of October so I was able to see you in Aberdeen.”
The noughties pop party atmosphere continued when the veteran popstars appeared back on stage dressed in silver waistcoats before belting out ABBA songs, the crescendo being their cover of I Have a Dream which clinched them the Christmas number one in 1999.
Flying without wings
Some of the loudest screams of the night though were reserved for the Westlife medley with hits such as What Makes a Man and World of Our Own getting people off their bottoms and onto their feet.
Excitement reached fever pitch when the opening lyric “Everybody’s looking for that something” signalled the start of one of their most famous songs – Flying Without Wings.
Watching in awe as thousands of phone torches light up the arena, it was one of the many goosebump-inducing moments of the night.
Better with age
Thanking fans before returning to the stage for an encore, the lively Irish singers looked like they were living their best life as they belted out Hello My Love and You Raise Me Up, sending the audience wild.
“Those boys do not age,” remarked my friend as we joined the sea of people spilling out of the warm venue and into the chilly rain-soaked evening.
Indeed, 23 years on and Westlife have aged like a fine (fizzy) wine, still bubbling with energy, Irish charm and vivacious vocals.
A real tonic for the tough times, let’s hope Westlife will still be bringing joy to audiences for the next 23 years.