Solo artist Shane Filan was in fine voice last night, delighting a near capacity Marquee crowd with a first airing of what could well be the start of a meaningful post-Westlife career.
The reasonable span of age categories will offer some hope to Filan who, for most people, was the best vocal talent in the now extinct boyband.
The big question was, would he have the charm, presence and material to stand alone? Well, so far so good. Showcasing hits from his first solo album You and Me, Shane went down every bit as well with this audience as he did with his old band mates at the height of their powers.
New hits such as About You and Everything To Me, really wowed the crowd in the tent.
Shane proved his passion as he sang his heart out and his loyal fans sang along with him.
His banter also went down very well. For instance, when he told fans: “I never thought I’d be here at the Marquee.”
Shane also served up a blast from a not-so distant past with a selection of classic Westlife hits, including Uptown Girl, bringing the loudest response from this enthusiastic crowd.
In terms of carving out a new identity after being in a hugely successful band, he has some ground to catch up on the likes of Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake; but he’s off to a fairly solid start.
It’s hard to shake off the image of Westlife, one of only a handful of Irish acts to enjoy really phenomenal international success.
I remember when I was in primary school when Westlife was the first concert experience for many of my classmates. I did spot one or two in the crowd last night.
But now maybe Shane Filan will not just fill the ‘West-void’, but build a whole new fan base of his own.
If last night’s show was any indication for the future of Shane’s solo career, there’s more than a twinkle of justifiable optimism in the air for Sligo’s greatest export.
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