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September 6, 2011

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Irish boy band returns

ALL the boys in the successful Irish boy band Westlife are now over 30 and they bring new songs as well as old favorites to Shanghai Grand Stage on September 21. Zhang Qian listens in.

In 2006, the Irish boys band Westlife first performed in Shanghai and now five years older and wiser they're back with a new show and their latest album "Gravity."

The four (Kian Egan, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrn and Mark Feehily) will perform on September 21 at Shanghai Grand Stage. Half the show will be new songs from "Gravity," and the rest will be classics such as "Swear It Again," "If I Let You Go," "Flying Without Wings" and "You Raise Me Up."

The group members still remember their last concert in Shanghai well, citing a small accident before their departure. A terrible stomachache of Nicky Byrn forced them to postpone the Shanghai concert for three weeks.

"The fans were just awesome," says Kian Egan, the group leader, recalling the show, though he says it took a while to warm up the audience last time.

"I don't know when we are coming back again, so we should cherish every minute with our fans and hope every Chinese fan can enjoy the concert," says Egan.

Established in 1998, the Irish boys got their first big break when they opened for the Boyzone and Backstreet Boys' concerts in Dublin at the same year.

And their first single "Swear it Again" in 1999 immediately topped the charts in Ireland and in the UK for two weeks, and continued to win fans.

They had 14 singles topping the UK charts from 1999 to 2007, which ranked right after Elvis, the Beatles and Cliff Richard.

They have sold more than 44 million records worldwide, including studio albums, singles, video release and compilation albums.

They had a member Bryan Mcfadden leaving in 2004, but kept on their music career with the rest members.

"Entering our 30s, the way we interpret and perform our music became a lot richer, compared without earlier works," says Egan in an e-mail interview.

"Besides our vocal skills and techniques, we have added the soul music-style vocal," Egan says. "The existing romantic styles will continue to be our band's characteristic but we would also like to try something different since we have been in the industry for so long."

The new album "Gravity" released in February is the work of Grammy-winning producer John Shanks.

It's a mix of old and new; the band has recorded two cover songs from the indie bands Athele and Hoobastank.

"The album became distinctive because of this, and it helps to prove that we can try anything that's possible," says Egan.

The upcoming Shanghai concert is part of Westlife's Asia tour.

After leaving Shanghai, they will perform in Guangzhou on September 23 and Beijing on September 25.

Date: September 21, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage

Address: 1111 Caoxi Rd N.

Tickets: 180-1,280yuan

Tel: 962-388


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