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30 June 2011: While the Marquee has showcased many impressive acts throughout the years, the return of Ireland's favourite boyband, Westlife, to Cork, has fans all over Munster waiting with bated breath. Shane Filan, a lover of Cork despite controversially admitting to being a Lyon's Tea man, told Kate Crowley about the group's excitement at the prospect of returning to Cork.
"The Marquee is a smaller venue but these can sometimes be better as you can really interact with the audience and feed off their energy," Shane Filan says ahead of his group's return to Cork. The much-loved group is the only act in British or Irish history to have their first seven singles go straight to number one.
Shane, along with Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily will all be in Cork for their Saturday, 9 July performance. As a double celebration, Shane will be spending his birthday in the Rebel County too.
"It's bound to be an unbelievable few days. Cork fans are mental so it will be a hectic one!"
Shane had just touched down in London when he spoke to the Cork Independent and he was rushing to a gig in Kingston. The success of the band has not waned over the last 12 years and, when you see the amount of work they put in, you begin to see why they are where they are today.
Recent controversy, however, involved news that the foursome were parting ways with Simon Cowell's label, Syco. The band have moved to RCA records, due to frustration with the decision to release just one single from their last album 'Gravity'.
Shane was quick to address the latest 'fallout' rumours.
"We are on very good terms (with the label). We just had different ideas for future projects, we are literally across the hall from Syco so relations are still good. They have done an amazing job with us but we are looking to November now to the release of the new album."
It was said that Cork would be the venue for the first performance of the new single, but Shane is not sure: "I don't think we'll be left as we are still undecided between two singles!"
Westlife, as one of Ireland's national treasures, were honoured to be included in last month's visits of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II.
"It was such an honor to be involved by singing at such a historical event. Meeting the Queen was such a nerve-wracking time, we were singing and I didn't know whether to look at her or not. She was a really nice lady. Then four days later was Obama, it was a weekend I'll never forget. We were all in a room, with the likes of Padraig Harrington, Robbie Keane, Brian O'Driscoll, Jedward, everyone, and he just came casually in and stayed there for 20 minutes going around talking to everyone. It was so surreal. He remembered we sang at the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway two years previous, he was such a nice guy. That was definitely one of the best weeks of my life."
Shane, a proud Sligo man, is a father to one girl Nicole and two boys Patrick and Shane Junior. Married to his childhood sweetheart Gillian, Shane says life has calmed down since he became a family man.
"Since being in the band for last 12 years, things have calmed down a little bit due to family commitments. I try get home as much as I can because Nicole's in school now so Gillian can't travel as much."
A 'quick-fire' question round with Shane provided the following results, some of which may be disappointing for Corkonians: he is a Guinness man through and through, if he was an animal he would be a horse, Lyons tea all the way for Filan, he's read two books in his life, the last movie he's seen is Hangover 2, favourite male singer is George Michael and the O2 is the best venue he has ever played in.
Westlife come to the Marquee Cork on Thursday, 9 July and tickets are priced at €45 and €54.80.
Source: corkindependent.com / Credits: Kate Crowley