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WESTLIFE (article first published : 2004-12-22)

What has been described as the biggest vocal band in the world heads south in April for an extensive South African tour which begins in Durban on April 5.

Those fortunate enough to have seen Westlife perform live in South Africa (to three sold-out shows) in 2001, have described them as “everything that is good about pop music” and their concerts as “sensational”.

After an unprecedented five-year run of hits, the Irish stars have grown from pop newcomers at 1998’s Smash Hits Awards to Britain’s most successful chart group. Their first single Swear It Again went straight to number one in April 1999, swiftly followed by If I Let You Go and Flying Without Wings. Within a year they had made UK chart history with their fifth chart topper in a row, Fool Again. Before long they secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only band to have topped the charts seven times in a row.

The records have kept coming ever since – in every sense. They were the first ever UK-based band to boast four number ones in a single year. Four of their albums have gone straight to number one! They are the only recording artists in the history of the awards to win the prestigious Record of the Year three times. They have performed to over 3 million fans on four sell-out arena tours to become the biggest selling arena tour act ever.

They have sold over 34 million records globally; had five multi-platinum albums in the UK alone; scored a record breaking 12 UK number ones, picked up two BRIT Awards, an MTV Europe Award and 6 Irish Meteor Awards (Best Pop Act for 4 years consecutively). Most recently they picked up another prize at the World Music Awards in Las Vegas as Ireland’s best-selling act of the year.

Allow us to be Frank, the group’s 5th studio album, sees Westlife return with a new look and a new sound for a new era. Adopting the smooth sound and the super-cool look of the original Rat Pack, Westlife reinterpret the trio’s catalogue of classics in a spellbinding tribute to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin. Backed by a full orchestra and band, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Shane Filan have never sounded so strong, with their rendition of timeless classics like Come Fly With Me, Mac The Knife and When I Fall In Love, delivered with all the panache and verve of their predecessors all that time ago.

Kicking off their South African tour in Durban, Westlife will perform a concert on April 5 at the Westridge Park Tennis Stadium in Durban presented by Big Concerts in association with East Coast Radio.

Concerts continue on April 7 (UPE Sports Arena, Port Elizabeth); April 8 (Bellville Velodrome, Cape Town), and April 10 (The Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg).

Book is at Computicket at www.computicket.com or the Computicket Call Centre on 083 915 8000. Booking also at Shoprite Checkers or the Shoprite Checkers Call Centre on 083 918 0001. Tickets also available from Shoprite and Checkers Money market counters.

Ticket prices for Durban are R150; R225 and R275 (exclusive of service charges).




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