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February 2, 2012

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Westlife 'boys' on farewell concert tour

IRISH pop band Westlife kicks off their international farewell concert tour in China, stopping in Shanghai on February 25.

Though some observers doubt that the boys now in their 30s will really say good-bye after 14 years together, the organizer says this is good-bye "for real."

In concert, the four musicians will perform hits such as "My Love," "Seasons in the Sun," and their first hit single from 1999, "Swear It Again."

Established in 1998, the boy band got their first big break when they opened for the Boyzone and Backstreet Boys' concerts in Dublin in that year. With "Swear It Again," they topped the charts in Ireland and the UK for two weeks and continued to win fans.

They had 14 singles topping the UK charts from 1999 to 2007, ranking right behind Elvis, the Beatles and Cliff Richard, and they have sold more than 44 million records worldwide.

One member, Bryan McFadden, left in 2004 but the band continued as a foursome, releasing six more albums. Now they will leave the stage as a group.

"The decision is entirely amicable and after spending all of our adult life together so far, we want to have a well-earned break and look at new ventures," Westlife said in a statement on their website.

"We never imagined when we started out in 1998 that 14 years later we would still be recording, touring and having hits together. It has been a dream come true for all of us," they said.

In addition to Shanghai, they will perform in Beijing, Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. A nine-day tour in Britain will be their final performance.

Date: February 25, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage, 1111 Caoxi Rd N.

Tickets: 288-1,288 yuan

Tel: 962-388


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