The Rua And Westlife At Leeds Arena, An Unbreakable Feast
The Rua are sisters Roseanna, Alanna and brother Jonathan. Although brought up in Windsor they have Irish blood flowing through their veins: their dad comes from Derry. If you think of The Shires, Fleetwood Mac and Taylor Swift you can hear where they sit in the musical sphere.
Their voices complement each other especially on the new single All I Ever Wanted; in fact Roseanna has one of the clearest and purest voices I have heard. With their second album recently released tracks such as Gasoline and Emergency Exit resonated well with the Leeds audience. A reason to get there early if you are going to any of the Westlife gigs.
It could be the late 90’s all over again – The Spice Girls have reformed, Steps toured recently and now Westlife have got back together to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
If you had wanted to see Westlife prior to the Leeds Arena being built you would have had to travel down to Sheffield Arena – no wonder then that they played two sold out concerts at the arena in Leeds – the first time they have played the venue.
I never realised that there was such a strong connection with Yorkshire and Westlife: the band’s keyboard player is from Bradford, but also I never knew that Nicky Byrne played for Leeds United in the mid 90’s in the first team. Byrne reminisced with the sold out audience of his time in the city and had even visited Roundhay before the gig.
It was not though a night of total nostalgia as their last two singles released earlier this year, were written by Ed Sheeran. They opened up with one of those hits, Hello My Love. The huge video screen backdrop opens and there they are – elevated on a platform. That Boyzone had used a similar stunt on their current farewell tour didn’t seem to matter.
Swear It Again had even the male members of the audience singing along too – and there were more of them present than you might imagine. In fact they even invite one of them up on stage to sing with them. John from Harrogate even mentions the spa baths in the town to which Nicky Byrne responds that he used to visit there with the Leeds Unted team.
Byrne and Shane Filan have the best voices in the line up which are used effectively on What About Now and predictably You Raise Me Up.
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Yes, they do sit down on the stools for Unbreakable and Fool Again, something I always associate with Westlife.
As they encored with Flying Without Wings and World Of Our Own now with Byrne wearing a Leeds United scarf, I looked around saw the happy smiling faces of all ages and both sexes (many of whom were too young to see them first time round) singing loudly. I might have entered as an outsider but by the end of this uplifting and entertaining show from both acts I had become a believer. Listen without prejudice – you might be pleasantly surprised.
The Rua And Westlife At Leeds Arena, An Unbreakable Feast, 12th June 2019, 14:42 PM