I wasn’t quite sure whether I should write about this on my blog or not, but it’s about my world after all and not just the kids. Plus this post I am about to publish, was part of half of my life. As some of you may or may not know, I used to be a big Westlife fan. To everyone who doesn’t know who or what Westlife is, it used to be one of the biggest boybands years ago. My favourite member has always been Mark.
As they split up back in 2012, things quietened down over the coming years. However most of them do their own thing now and so is Mark. He has released his second album this Christmas which is a Christmas album. It’s nice for a change. As well as releasing the Christmas album at the beginning of this month, he also announced a few unplugged shows, one of them being in Dublin. I mean how could I miss that? This wasn’t just any Unplugged show though. It was to get to up close and personal with the fans so one of the options was to buy a VIP ticket. This includes a Meet & Greet, front row seats and watching the sound check. Sounds like the perfect early Christmas present to me.
So yesterday was the day. I had a half day booked in work to prepare getting into town as I have not been in Dublin city in like seven years. After a bit of dinner I made my way to the Sugar Club with the help of Google Maps. I got there half an hour early but there were already people waiting outside. I joined the queue and more people arrived. I got talking to them and realised half the queue is from Germany. Just before 6pm Mark casually arrives in a taxi, said hello to everyone and went inside for his soundcheck.
Shortly after 6pm they opened the door to let us in, check the tickets and gave us our VIP wristband. We sat down in the front row and waited for Mark to arrive on stage. He almost spent ninety minutes with all of us. It was all very calm and he took his time. I’d say we were around ten to fifteen people. To start it off, he asked everyone one by one where we were from. Most people were from Germany which he found quite hilarious.
It was time to go on stage one by one, have a chat with him, get something signed and have a photo taken. I was third in the row. I got a welcome hug (he does give great cuddly hugs). I had to remind him who I was. Once he remembered, he told everyone how he used to play tennis with hubby back in the day. Quite funny in fact. We had a conversation about how we had to move down from Sligo for work reasons and how I got to the Sugar Club and get home again. We ended the conversation by him telling me to say hi to the boys. (hubby and his two brothers) I got another cuddly hug followed by some photos that were taken with the help of his colleague who works in the Sugar Club. Probably the best eighty Euro I have invested in this Meet & Greet. It was such a great experience and I love how he took his time with everyone. Very down to earth person.
It was getting close to 7.30pm which meant the Meet & Greet was coming to an end and the main audience was coming in. Mark disappeared for a little while. The other two boys who leaded them through all his songs put on a performance and Mark didn’t arrive back on stage until just after 9pm.
He introduced his show with a Christmas song followed by an old Westlife song “What makes a man”. I love the way his voice is just the same as it would be on CD. Some artists can be terrible live. He got to perform his favourite song “Oh Holy Night” which he’s been singing since he was a child. He was struggling a bit at the end and needed a bit of water but he managed so well.
Mark is a big Mariah Carey fan and so he sang one of her Christmas songs, too. He was even that brave to sing this song at a Christmas opening from Mariah Carey with 20.000 Mariah Carey fans.
Highlight of the whole show has got to be “I wanna dance with somebody” by Whitney Houston. This is where Mark brings fans on stage to dance with him. As he was so overwhelmed with the amount of people from Germany, he invited everyone who’s German up on stage. “It’s a bit of a weird one but there’s a huge amount of people from Germany here this evening. If you’re from Germany, come up on stage”. The lovely Monique filmed the whole thing and I want to thank her at this point.
And so we had a little dance and he held my hand before which was a bit of a strange one but I don’t mind it obviously. The gig was called up close and personal after all. He even said “I actually know this lady, from Sligo, is there anyone else from Sligo?”. What he actually meant was I lived in Sligo until we moved last year.
Another Westlife song was “You raise me up” which he performed in his own style. It was actually nicer that way. It all finished off with his Christmas tune “Merry Christmas Baby”.
Now that’s how you spend a Tuesday night and get into the Christmas spirit.