Friday, May 28, 2010

When Old Favorites Become Medleys - Westlife

Top & bottom, left to right: Shane, Kian, Nicky & Mark

I come right out and admit I have an addiction to this band, one that I once thought would pass with time, yet that has not been the case at all. Mark Feehily, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne, four Irish lads, as well as former member Brian McFadden, managed to captivate much of the world market, save the US, as well as my affections. I fully own up to having all their albums, as well as their concert DVDs, and I revel in the sheer Pop of their sound. One of the men responsible for their career is Simon Cowell, who signed them for the label, and has been instrumental in many of the decisions since. For the first 10 years of their careers, they were constantly working, either on tour or working on the next album. Having seen the DVDs, I can tell you Cowell doesn't stray far outside that box, for a formula quickly set in. That included taking up about 10 minutes of the concert with a medley of classic hit songs, easily warming the hearts of the parents and grandparents bringing their children to see the immensely popular group. And today is Mark's birthday!


Take, for instance, the 2008 Back Home Tour, which concluded with a fantastic two-night stand in Croke Park outside of Dublin, after which the boys took a well-deserved year off. The medley ran just under 10 minutes, and included the songs Sexy Back, Blame It On The Boogie, Get Down On It, I'm Your Man, and Let Me Entertain You by original artists Justin Timberlake, The Jackson 5, Kool & The Gang, Wham! and Robbie Williams. The selections span the generations, are all up-beat, fun songs, and are rather fun to watch. It also gives Kian and Nicky a chance to take the lead vocal role, something rarely done in the studio.

In 2005 they embarked on the Number Ones Tour, which included a 10 minute medley of its own. The songs included in this one were Disco Inferno, Pretty Woman, I Feel Fine, Don´t Stop Til You Get Enough and Footlose, by original artists Earth, Wind & Fire, Roy Orbison, Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Kenny Loggins. Again, one could see these songs by these artists more appealing to the custodians of the youngsters wanting to go to the concert, making them very popular segments of the show.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the medleys - after all, I fall into the target age range - and think the boys do them well. They have a great deal of fun with them, fueled by their own energy, as well as that of the screaming crowds. I just think there is a laziness to them, and that the boys might be capable of doing a show without them. However, the songs do bring back great memories, and I fall for it every time. And while I have no idea if I will see them live as they don't tour the States, the DVDs does give me a chance to pretend I've had the honor of doing that.

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