Louis Walsh reflects on Westlife’s 20-year career after his ‘horrendous’ early years with the band

EXCLUSIVE ‘It’s been a long road from Sligo to Wembley!’: Louis Walsh reflects on Westlife’s 24-year career after his ‘horrendous’ early years with the band

Louis Walsh has reflected on Westlife’s incredible 20-year career that has culminated in them selling out Wembley Stadium. 

The Irish boyband have packed out the venue on their The Wild Dreams tour – which was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic.  

Now the group – formed of Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne – are back and stronger than ever, a stark contrast to their ‘horrendous’ early days when they were just starting out. 

'It's been a long road from Sligo to Wembley!': Louis Walsh has reflected on Westlife's 24-year career after his 'horrendous' early years with the band

‘It’s been a long road from Sligo to Wembley!’: Louis Walsh has reflected on Westlife’s 24-year career after his ‘horrendous’ early years with the band

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline about their return, the group’s manager Louis insisted it will be ‘the best pop show the UK has ever seen’.

He added: ‘This show will be simply sensational. It is the biggest show the band has ever done in the UK and is completely sold out. The show will feature twenty years of hits with songs that have been the soundtrack to peoples lives.

‘The band recently played two nights at Croke Park in Dublin, the fans loved it and sang every word with the boys. The lighting, staging, the clothes and everything about this show is incredible. 

‘And it is amazing that after 20 years the band is selling out stadiums like this. It has been a long road from Sligo to Wembley Stadium.’

‘It will be a massive celebration and some of the band’s celebrity fans will be there too.’

Fantastic five: Westlife were formed in Sligo, Ireland in 1998 with Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne as well as Brian McFadden who left the group in 2004

Fantastic five: Westlife were formed in Sligo, Ireland in 1998 with Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne as well as Brian McFadden who left the group in 2004

The band added in a statement:  ‘Headlining Wembley Stadium is a dream come true for all of us. 

‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we’re incredibly excited for a show which will be different and more spectacular than anything we’ve ever done before.’

Westlife were formed in Sligo, Ireland in 1998, with the four current members as well as Brian McFadden, who left the group in 2004. 

They have sold more than 55 million records worldwide and have the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK. 

However, it hasn’t always been easy for the band, with Shane describing the band’s early years as ‘fecking horrendous.’ 

Wow: They have sold more than 55 million records worldwide and have the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK

Wow: They have sold more than 55 million records worldwide and have the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK

Nicky added to the Daily Mail in a 2010 chat: ‘We were riding the crest of the wave in terms of income and lifestyle. But probably only Take That and Boyzone can ever know what it was really like. 

‘Louis was always on at you. The first thing he’d say when I walked in the room was: “Your teeth are fecking terrible.” What did he want me to do? They were my teeth. I remember saying once: “Your teeth are fecking horrible, too.”

He said: “I know but I’m not on TV.” I went and got a brace.’ Kian Egan chips in: ‘We lived in fear of Louis. He was like: “You’re done. I’m going to kick you out of the band. I’m going to put you on the next plane home. Only four people can fit in a taxi, not five.”‘

Shane picks up the thread, breaking into a rather brilliant impression of the X Factor judge: ‘”Shane, you don’t look great. Your hair’s terrible. You look fat. Watch yourself, there are only three Bee Gees.”

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‘We were definitely scared of him. He was a very powerful man – only a tenth as powerful as he is now – but the best manager in the world for us.’

Two years after discussing their rocky road to stardom, the group broke hearts of fans around the globe when they announced plans to disband in 2012 and all embarked on respective solo careers. 

The group reunited in 2019 with their hit Hello My Love. 

Earlier this year they released their hit Alone Together, their whopping 38th single across their 24-year career. 

Stunning: Devotees were left delighted to hear the group are headed on the road on The Wild Dreams Tour, which will take them across the UK's biggest arenas as well as a new album

Stunning: Devotees were left delighted to hear the group are headed on the road on The Wild Dreams Tour, which will take them across the UK’s biggest arenas as well as a new album

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