‘Less than two hours before the show started, Westlife suddenly became a trio, it was the weirdest day of our careers’

It was 90 minutes before Westlife’s sold-out show in Newcastle on 25 November when the band received a creepy phone call from the band’s co-manager Sunny Takhar.

and member Mark Feehily were hospitalized suddenly after suffering acute pneumonia and 10,000 fans flocked to the venue.

Shane Filan, 43, revealed that what happened next was “the weirdest two hours of our careers”.

For the first time in 22 years, one of the most successful bands in the industry will have to perform as a trio, with less than two hours’ notice.

“It was the weirdest time ever as a band. It’s really, really weird when it happens and shows your health really is everything and thankfully he’s 100% better now. But he got a severe bout of pneumonia after five shows on tour,” he told Independent Ireland.

“He didn’t feel well for a few days, he thought he was going to catch a cold or Covid. But then he went to the doctor. And we were driving into the stadium in Newcastle – me, Nicky (Byrne) and Kian (Egan) and I will never forget that.

“We got a call from Sunny and he said, ‘Mark won’t be performing on stage tonight, he’s just been hospitalized.’ This was 90 minutes before the show and we were like ‘What do we do?’ There were 10,000 people entering the venue. We can’t cancel the show, there are people there waiting for us. We cannot cancel the show.”

But as the old adage goes, the show must go on. After consulting with Mark, they agreed that they would continue as a trio for the rest of the days in 2022 on their Wildest Dreams tour because they don’t want to be fans. disappointed grave. This includes two sold-out days at 3Arena and their New Year’s Eve performance.


Westlife’s Shane Filan has been announced as the new ambassador for the Irish Cancer Society’s Empowering Life event Photo: Monika Chmielarz

“Mark was sitting on the hospital bed and we were on the stage but we got through it as a band. We said: ‘It’s not the same at all but it worked tonight and we can keep this going for a few days and see what happens.’ To be fair, the fans have been very supportive of us.

“We were in the middle of a tour and we thought, ‘there are so many shows here, what do we do?’ and we kept talking to Mark about it and he said, ‘go on, keep performing. The fans are very happy’.”

The good thing about their first night in Newcastle is that they “didn’t have time to think too much”. Shane sang both his part and the normal part sung by Mark. So used to singing their iconic hits in a certain way, there are parts where no one sings – but then the audience walks in and sings along, “like the fourth member of the band.” .

Thankfully, Mark was cleared by doctors to fully recover in early January and is “now regaining some fitness” before they compete in a series of days in Asia starting in Hong Kong on May 13. 2.

“He is in great form. He can’t wait to see the boys again. We’ve never had that as a band before, when the four of us weren’t on stage together.”

Personally, it’s been a tough couple of years for Shane, who lost both his parents, Mae and Peter, to cancer.

Today, he was announced as an Irish Cancer Society ambassador for Resilience for Life. It sees communities coming together for a 24-hour event to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones, and raise funds and awareness for services provided by ICS across the country.

Already operating in 12 counties in Ireland, Filan’s dream is to expand it nationally and “grow it into something big” as the father of three and his wife Gillian plan to host a big event in Sligo in 2024.

“Everyone is the same when it comes to cancer, everyone is affected by it,” he said. “Relay for Life is a lovely event. It’s very community and family based. It’s not just for people with cancer, but it’s also for those who have lost a loved one and are dealing with the aftermath.

“It’s about getting together in your county that day on the football field or the GAA field or whatever and it’s 24 hours, so all day long. You can do one lap or 50 laps, whatever you can do.”


Westlife’s Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne and Shane Filan perform on stage at Cardiff International Arena on 11 December last year. Photo: Mike Lewis / Redferns . Photography

Regarding the passing of his mother Mae from lung cancer in December 2019 and his father Peter from pancreatic cancer in October 2020, he said that he “misses and thinks of them. everyday”.

“Now I feel very close to them. I feel like doing this is a way to keep them closer to me and keep their memory alive and do something good out of something really horrible. Losing your mother and father is terrible.

“But bringing something really good and positive out of it helps you deal with the pain. It turns that grief into something positive. Instead of living in sadness, live in hope, he said.
For more details, visit: www.Cancer.ie/relay

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/less-than-two-hours-before-the-show-began-westlife-had-suddenly-become-a-trio-it-was-the-weirdest-day-of-our-career-42329080.html ‘Less than two hours before the show started, Westlife suddenly became a trio, it was the weirdest day of our careers’

Fry Electronics Team

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