Shane Filan – Ulster Hall, Belfast
This review comes with a warning like all 80s kids my musical taste has grown with me.I’ve moved through loving my parents favourites, to that teenage boy band phase, to grunge indie, rock, pop and finding new bands/sounds in my now 30s. However last night I was transported back to being a 14 year old Westlife fan and do you know what? I loved every minute of it.
Shane Filan, the Irish singer and songwriter, was one of the lead singers and the front man of Westlife until the group disbanded in 2012. He released his debut solo album, You and Me, in 2013 and in September 2015 he released his current album Right Here. I attended the Right Here tour in the Ulster Hall last night and the singer’s setlist contained a mixture of old and new material which moved from upbeat to some amazing ballads.
This was his fifth appearance in Belfast over the past two years and last night’s gig was sold out. The singer stated Belfast was the “loudest city on tour” and that the band had been “counting down the days” until they hit Belfast.
After asking his Twitter followers to help with his set list, the band opened up with “Everything To Me.” The audience lapped up every note and sang along almost like a giant karaoke. He followed up with hits “What About Now”, “Effortlessly You” and crowd-pleaser “Home.”
The seating had been removed in the Ulster Hall to make room for the big crowd and when the singer announced he wanted to shake things up and get everybody dancing, I did not expect him to move into a very energetic rendition of Walk the Moons “Shut Up And Dance,” quickly followed by “World of Our Own”. The atmosphere was amazing; the crowd had been left smiling and sweaty.
The band interacted with the audience throughout the set and they seemed to enjoy the night adding a little flirting and horseplay throughout. Classics like my personal favourite “Uptown Girl” were on hand to keep the pace lively and the lead singer’s vocal talents shone through when he finished the set on the spine-tingling “You Raise Me Up”.