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Review: Westlife and Lyra at Cardiff International Arena

Westlife at Cardiff International Arena

The UK’s biggest-selling album group of the 21st century, Westlife have reached the last stop of their extensive 2022 tour. Cardiff International Arena sees the end of the two month long UK Arena tour, supported by the wonderful Lyra.

Lyra at Cardiff International Arena

On a cold winter’s evening in Cardiff, it was Lyra’s job to warm up the crowd to get things going. As Lyra burst out on stage,  she was welcomed with open arms by an adoring crowd in the capital. Lyra recently released her brand new single ‘29 Box’, and it arrives as the rising pop talent joins fellow Irish stars Westlife on their huge UK Arena tour. 

Lyra at Cardiff International Arena

The new single follows on from the mammoth success of ‘Edge of Seventeen’. This achieved over 1 million streams across all platforms, hit Top 10 in the official UK commercial dance charts, held 14 weeks on the Irish National airplay charts and 13 weeks on the Top 10 Irish Homegrown charts.

Lyra spoke a lot about the process of how she writes her songs, which really helped to connect with the audience. There’s something so comforting about sitting on your sofa in your pjs, but we don’t all manage to create amazing songs like Lyra from personal experiences. From the heartwarming ‘Mother’ to relatable songs such as ‘New Day’, ‘Lovers’ and ‘Lose My Mind’.

Lyra’s dynamic powerhouse vocals really show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a chatty Cork lass when she talks. 

Lyra talks about her truth and experiences, being critical of herself online, and how others being critical of her from a young age have only made her more determined to find own path to success. Lyra also highlights the pressures of authenticity and the wider consciousness of portraying one’s internet self, versus reality. 

Expanding on this, Lyra recently said:

“While social media is an invaluable tool and networking system, it can consume you and a small percentage of people can make it a dark place. I feel like we live in a world with two lives, our glossy online self, when in reality we all have our own pressures. I wanted the record to resonate with my fans, we need to celebrate our individuality”.

‘29 Box’ is a slow tempo sonic sound with woven dance elements and makes for a track that’s as infectious as it is heady. Thought provoking, the music matches Lyra’s emotions captured within her lyrics. She’s all about being herself, not trying to fit into a box or conform to society, just living in the moment and dance like no one is watching.

What an unforgettable winter run for Lyra with the full UK live run supporting Westlife on their UK Arena Tour. She’ll be returning to Cardiff in 2023 Spring 23rd April for her very own mini tour at The Globe, and if this performance is anything to go by, the fans will love it.

Westlife at Cardiff International Arena

After a quick stage change it was time for the highly anticipated main event, Westlife.

The Irish pop vocal group from Dublin, Ireland formed back in 1998. Westlife now consists of four members Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne. The band said goodbye to Brian McFadden back in 2004 when he decided to leave. In 2012, the group temporarily disbanded after 14 years of success and reunited in 2018 to the delight of their fans.

Westlife have established themselves as the world’s biggest band of the 21st century with more than 55 million records sold, and are the only band to have their first seven singles enter the UK chart at No.1. With the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK, the band have accomplished an incredible 14 No.1 singles, leaving them behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Worldwide, Westlife achieved 33 No.1 albums and have sold five million concert tickets.

Westlife at Cardiff International Arena

Westlife have just released their new single ‘Starlight’ – the first track of the highly anticipated new album Wild Dreams, name of their tour and opening number to their penultimate performance. Followed on by some old classics such as ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘Fool Again’ and ‘Swear it Again’.

Unfortunately one of the members, Mark Feehily, had to pull out of the show due to pneumonia. The singer released a statement on Instagram after missing a show in Newcastle.

After withdrawing from the tour stop on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November, Feehily said:

“I really was gutted to miss the weekend shows in Newcastle but I really started to feel quite unwell on Friday and the doctors confirmed that it’s a bout of pneumonia.”

The singer continued and reassured fans: 

“I know it’s scary when you first hear the word ‘Pneumonia’ but thankfully I got to the doctor and hospital very quickly and got on the antibiotics as soon as possible, so everything is currently under control. I have been informed that the quickest way to recovery is to rest and continue the antibiotics. I’m feeling a bit better everyday…This does however mean missing more gigs which is horrible but I’ll be back on stage as soon as I get the all clear.”

Shane reassured fans that Mark is slowly recovering, and sent his love to fans. With a member absent on stage, the audience stepped into the shoes of the fourth band member, regularly singing back to the band. Though if Mark had been on stage, the audience would still happily be singing along. 

As expected the boys looked after the audience like one of their own. When a young lady unfortunately collapsed in the standing audience they took charge of the situation, directing fans to clear space for help to get through and then a pathway as she was carried out.

Westlife at Cardiff International Arena

This happened just as the boys were about to nip off stage for a quick costume change. The next set was dedicated to the works of ABBA, including ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘Waterloo’. With stage lighting reminiscent of the 70’s vibrant colours, it certainly felt like a Disco you didn’t want to miss.

Westlife at Cardiff International Arena

Another quick costume change later and the boys were back on stage. This set slowed things down and as expected the torches came out and hands were swaying. With some real tear jerkers such as ‘What About Now’, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘I’m Already There’. what a tremendous way to end the weekend.

The last UK performance takes place tonight at Cardiff International Arena before they head overseas to their international fans. Hopefully Mark is recovering well and will be joining the band for the rest of the tour.