Interview: We caught up with Nick Byrne ahead of Westlife's performance in Abu Dhabi
‘We can’t wait’ – Nicky Byrne…
Famed Irish boyband Westlife are set to perform in Abu Dhabi for the first time this Thursday, September 29 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.
The four-piece Irish boyband previously performed in Dubai in August 2019, when they were among the first acts to take to the Coca-Cola Arena stage.
We spoke to Nicky Byrne ahead of their performance
“We absolutely love performing live; there’s always a really special connection that our older songs like Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up have with our fans,” Nicky Byrne, one of the four members of Westlife, tells us. “We get so emotional every time we see our fans sing along with us and shine their phone lights in the air – nothing really beats that feeling.”
“We can’t wait. Dubai in 2019 was a great show for us and the Middle East is somewhere we always enjoy coming back to,” says Nicky.
With a near-25-year career under their belts, Westlife’s meteoric success is a testament to their unwavering dedication to their fans.
“The fans are why we love touring so much. Seeing big crowds together, singing, dancing, and having a great time is the reason we do what we do,” Nicky explains.
Having performed on stages around the world for more than two decades, one would assume that there can’t be much that still impresses them, but a recent sell-out performance at Wembley Stadium was a real ‘pinch me moment,’ he tells What’s On.
Westlife is currently on their Wild Dreams tour, a rescheduled version of their Stadiums in the Summer tour, which was due to take place in the summer of 2020. The band took the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to write new music, and Wild Dreams – Westlife’s 18th studio album – was released at the end of 2021.
“Writing and recording our new album was a very different process for us. It was in the middle of the pandemic, and we were able to get really involved in the process and work with writers and producers from all over the world whilst sat at home. We are really proud of it,” Nicky shares.
The tour began in June and will continue until February 2023, stopping in cities across the UK, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Touring is special to Westlife as it gives the band a chance to reconnect with fans, see the world, and get creative. Nicky explains: “We’ve had a brilliant summer of touring, playing various stadiums across Ireland and the UK. We are always thinking about what’s next and right now that’s the rest of the tour and getting to countries we haven’t been able to for so long. Being on the road is always great for creativity so I’m sure we will be thinking about new music ideas for the near future.”
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Fans will get the chance to hear a host of the Irish megastars’ classic songs, but their favourite to play at the moment is the album’s lead single, Starlight: “It’s an anthemic, euphoric song and feels like a huge celebration – we absolutely love performing it live”.
As one of the most revered boybands in the world, you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering if they have any sense of normalcy in their lives. When asked what a typical day is like in the world of Westlife, Nicky tells us that each of the band members has a varied routine.
“I like to get up in the morning, get to the gym and spa and have a nice healthy breakfast. Then we would usually head into the stadiums around lunchtime, rehearse and do soundcheck, watch our kids running around and play football; then we will try and have a bit of downtime for a couple of hours before going on stage.”
After spending the majority of their lives performing on stage, the guys insist on having a special pre-show ritual: “No matter how big or small a show is, we will always make sure to have a huddle just before going on stage. It’s a great way for us to get in the zone and really take everything in.”
Westlife fans in Dubai, take note – there will also be the option to book a shuttle bus that will go straight to the Etihad Arena for an additional Dhs59.