Westlife, the Irish pub music heartthrobs, performed on Monday night at Beirut Hall, where about 3,000 teenagers danced around and saw the boy band in action.
The arrival of Westlife hardly showed up on the radar screen of most adults in Lebanon, but for teen girls and even some boys seeing Bryan, Kian, Shane, Nicky and Mark was the highlight of the year, according to the Daily Star.
The entrance fee was a flat $25 and, with no seating, who got to be closest to the boy band was based on who was there earliest, said the paper.
With almost the entire audience pushing to be near the stage, the standing-room only setup at Beirut Hall ultimately caused problems for all.
Westlife, dressed all in white, came onstage almost exactly at 7.30 pm. In what became a regular event of the evening, the screaming crowd surged forward toward the performers, eliminating niceties like oxygen for fans packed in up front.
Security guards yanked fainting fans out of the audience, said the paper, while Westlife played it cool by continuing to belt out silky songs like “Swear It Again.”
The two-year-old band, whose Coast to Coast album has gone double platinum, only gave a 70-minute performance. Slow-going melodies calmed the crowd and got teens swaying, with some lighters appearing as arms waved back and forth.
Being a boy band, Westlife’s performance was as much about style as it was about music. The baby-faced singers changed a total of five times during the concert, sporting outfits that ranged from slick to tacky, but were always coordinated, according to the fashion-vigilant Daily Star.
Westlife’s appalling remake of the 1960s hit song “My Girl,” however, drove adults out and even turned off some fans.
Being five pretty boys in a band, Westlife has heard that before. During a press conference earlier Monday at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, the singers were asked how they are different from other boy bands.
“We’re all straight,” one member quipped, according to the paper.
At the concert, teens taking breaks stampeded back into the hall when Westlife belted out the beginning of “Uptown Girl,” its almost-duplicate version of the Billy Joel hit that concert sponsor Radio One played like a broken record in anticipation of the band’s Beirut arrival, said the Daily Star.
Soon after, Westlife thanked the crowd, told fans how much they loved Beirut and said goodnight. Not accustomed to the rules of concerts, some of the crowd actually left and had to press their noses up to a glass door outside to see the band when they returned to perform “I Lay My Love on You.”
Dressed head-to-toe in white, including flowy full-length coats, the singers ended their concert looking like angels fitting for many of their fans, said the paper. – Albawaba.com