If you're a friend of mine, or a co-member of an existing Westlife fan club Philippines on a social network, or a chatmate in a forum for asian fans... you have probably heard how this Irish boyband Westlife captured my heart and started my journey along with millions girls worldwide.
But if you haven't, so here it goes: Let's start on the year 1999, where Philippine radio played Swear It Again more than 10 times a day. Where the "It Girls" in school gets kilig or drool over a photo on a post card or on a songhits of 5 foreign dudes that consists of 3 blondes and 2 brunnetes. Even some boys are playing the song with guitars. The time where you could literally hear the song everywhere because even the girl next to you on the store you're buying ghost fighter playing cards is singing the goddam song. Never got my interest though, I don't think I ever thought of looking at the faces of that getting popular band during those times.
"I'll never gonna say goodbye
Cos I'll never wanna see you cry
I swear to you my love would remain..."
I asked my ate, older sister, who was a Backstreet Boys fan that time, how Westlife looked like. I thought they were looking like a rock band cos they seemed to be the band I stumbled upon scanning tv channels. I asked if there's any of the member has a long hair, ala Guns N Roses, she answered yes, there's one...but it wasn't that long, she was referring to Bryan...it turned out to be that the band I thought Westlife was actually The Hansons.
Finished grade school, I entered high school and I still watch those afternoon anime cartoons. One day, a guy friend of mine told me out of nowhere that Shane of Westlife is dead.
(the following conversation has spoken in Tagalog language just to make me look sosyal or a socialite, I translated it to english language)
"Shane of Westlife, the lead singer."
"The band who sang Swear It Again and My Love."
"Unfortunately, yes, the lead singer. They were filming Angel's Wings music video when suddenly Shane collapsed..."
"Do you have a picture of them there? I wanna see who was it."
"None, you should go watch them on MTV. They're awesome."
Ridiculous story but this is exactly what my friend told me: Westlife were filming their next music video called Angel's Wings, there's this scene where the lads are walking just like a scene in My Love MV, when suddenly a guy named Shane collapsed, looked dead and bandmate named Nicky tried to recover him by pumping the chest. Kian called the ambulance then blah blah... absurdity, I don't wanna recall that whoever-made-up-must-be-crazy-shit story anymore.
Out of curiosity, I watched Vid-OK channel to know who's Westlife member untimely passed away. Then I saw the My Love MV which was currently in number 1 position on the chart. The video was the studio version one (where they were making fun while recording and shnicky was dancing? too cute!) Then my Ate pointed the Shane guy, who is sadly, "dead" that time.
"What a good looking guy. He looked like an ANGEL. Too bad he's dead."
I felt the same admiration I had when I first saw Britney Spears on her Sometimes video, still vivid, I told myself, She's the most prettiest girl I've ever seen in my whole life,(I think I had my girl crush on her) and similar to Shane the moment I properly laid my eyes on him and appreciate the faces of each of the band member, most handsome guy I've ever seen.
Then another video has come out, I Lay My Love On You, apparently Shane is dead was a plain rumor. There was indeed a "Shane is dead" rumor circulated around. Shane had a horse back riding minor accident before, he hurt his knee but obviously he didn't die. Angel's Wings was supposed to be the next to My Love single but due to fans' demand, What Makes A Man was it. Until this very minute, I have no idea how my friend got that silly story. I'm thankful though, it was the way where I started this fun journey. I started buying songhits that features them. I save 10pesos everyday from my allowance to buy posters and paste on my wall. Our room was covered of variety pictures of the pop stars cos I also had other boybands posters and one Britney spears. Purchased their albums, vcds, dvds and all. I gave away my playing cards collection and I replaced with Westlife pictures, articles cut out from magazine and newspapers, created scrap book, etc. All of a sudden, I matured a bit in terms of my likes and hobbies.
My fingers has learned to automatically push the button channel for MTV and Vid-Ok whenever I hold tv's remote control. I followed the music mainstream. I found Net25's play, an interactive music show that has gone me to the next level of fangirling over Westlife. I started joining clans, texting all day (Mind you, there was no unlimited promo back then and economic/auto loads! Imagine how much we spend for cellphone load that time) but I never attend EB'so or meet ups... then I became a bonafire member of the official fan club. I got to chat, mingled with other Westlife fans personally. I was in awe and I was very young back then, I even lost my way to QCMMC where the gathering held. I saw the different kinds of people but has common denominator *west *coughs* life*. There was a teacher who travelled from Cavite, a girl same age as mine I guess, travelled from- get this, Bicol. A granny carrying a huge bag that contains her collection of Westlife stuffs, really surprised me with that one cos I thought she was just accompanying a girl, probably her apo or grandchild but actually, the girl is the one who accompanying her lola to attend the gathering! Also, Westlife was the reason why I taught myself to use the internet. I remember the first time I opened their official site, an mp3 voice file played on the background, voice of westlife introducing themselves. I was fascinated, thought it was live. Those were the days when their official site was fun to browse, it has flash media and everything.
Brian McFadden left the band. I didn't worry about Westlife though when the news came out. There was the possibility of the end for the band cos Brian might be a big lost for them ,though it never cross mind. Then they had their 6th album, Rat Pack inspired album. Myx, the revamp Vid-OK, premiered Westlife new music, made it to the top 10 and fans same did to Smile video. Both videos filmed in Las Vegas with their 50's looks, good looking version of Rat Pack. And that was the period of time that I lie low from being a die hard fan of Westlife. I was disappointed, they've been doing revival ever since and now an album full of remakes? I didn't bother to have a copy of it. I stopped following Westlife for awhile.
My interest switched to wrestling, addicted, joined a clan, made new friends, went to a wrestling house show but my admiration to Westlife has never forgotten. February 2006, my first time to be in the Big Dome, and first time to watch a huge foreign event show. WWE Raw tour. I saw people that I thought was larger than life. It was an experience. Later that year, I saw a TV advert for Westlife Face To Face tour. Shocked. Gutted. My parents are impossible to give me another shot as the WWE tour ticket was a bit pricey and made a promise that it would be the last time that I would ask money for my guilty pleasure. I panicked. I cried. Where on earth am I going to get money to go and watch the concert! I tried to join Myx promo to win a ticket and a Face To Face CD. I flood them with my entries which was so wrong thing to do. I swear to God, everytime our landline phone rings, I'm dying to wish that it was from Myx and would say I won the effing contest. The Sept 4 came. Not a soul called me on the phone. I cried same time the night sky poured rain. I was crying like a little girl in the bathroom, I didn't want anyone to know that I'm crying over Westlife. I've been dreaming to meet them for years, It's my 2nd thing to do on my bucket list and the chance has come and I let it slip away.That was really f*cking hurt.
Maybe if I didn't watch the wrestling show, my parents would give me a ticket and Sept29 would be my 2nd time in a Westlife concert. Maybe if I continued following Westlife, I would have prepared for it so 'Face to Face' album won't be a reminder of my despair. Maybe if I supported Westlife all the effing way, I wasn't crying that night. Despite of everything, there were no regrets. I know time would come for me. I just know it.
How I got into Facebook? Westlife. There was a link on westlife.com of their fanpage and I followed it. I never knew facebook, the hell I know facebook, I was busy enjoying the "coolness" of friendster. I signed up and subscribed to Westlife fan page without any knowledge about the new social network . So Westlife's fanpage is the first ever I 'like' or 'become a fan' of on Facebook. Eventually, everybody went over to facebook. I went back as a westlife follower again, back on track, joined a forum, made another circle of Westlife friends, text clan and all that. A fan, my chatmate, asked me to relive the defunct WFCP but I thought we couldn't do it just the 2 of us. So I kinda laugh it off, let other adults do it, hun. Later, I found out that she had other fans to do with it and succesfully re-established the WFCP, now OWFCP (so she wasn't really joking when she asked me about it). I could be one of the admin if I wanted to, but I can't take the responsibilities, I can't make lotsa time and huge effort for a fanclub. Especially this time I'm completing my studies. I guess that what makes me differ to others, but, please, never question my admiration towards them. I would have stop a long time ago if I wasn't more than a Westlife fan.
Sept 29 2012. That's my tatay's birthday. Sweet. But that date was way more than special than the past Sept29s of my years. It was Westlife Manila concert date. A night to remember. A dream came true. I have my previous blog entry about this, so I'm skipping this special part.
November, we still have hang over from the night. I still watch my concert videos to relive the feeling. Friends on facebook posting status updates about Westlife. Not about the concert, but sad status updates.Westlife splits. SPLIT. The S word that every band fan would never want to hear from their idol. I went over to the official site to confirm and tada, a letter from them welcomed me. It was morning, great way to start the day. Then everyone seemed to be crying their hearts out on their status and blog posts, even text messages. Please don't get me wrong but I never cry over it, not a single tear. I tried, cos it was supposed to hurt and that's what every westlife fan is doing, I should do but...I'm.. not... I just couldn't cry. I can't fake it with crocodile tears or keep posting pretending crying status/blog posts just to go along with the other but that would be a total bullshit. But it definitely upset Lala.
The last ever gig has come. After waiting for months which was like watching the every tick of the time bomb to explode on 23rd of June. The Philippines wasn't able to be part of the Farewell Tour and the screening of the Croke Park gig in cinema. Just our luck.So we waited for updates from the other side of this earth. As I told before, I never shed tears over Westlife since the Sept 6 night until I saw Shane's eyes filled with tears on a youtube video. That really broke me into pieces. I've known Shane as the one who cries easily in the band, I could see it when he have too much laugh, he weep some tears in his eyes. Of course, that one in Croke was different. It's the first time I saw him with those much of tears.I can't face a thought of my loved ones crying, and you know I love Westlife. I love Shane all these years.That sight was just...couldn't bear it.I don't think I'll ever could.
So that was it. The end of an era. Westlife has gone. No more November releases. No more tour every year. What sucks about life is you can't let people stay with you, even those you wanted to be with forever, people who's been a part of you, they come and go.But it's a part of the changes. The world changes and everything in it comes along with it. Changes that shape us to who we are right now. What matters is the memories and legacy they left for us, that would last for eternity. There's more to life than Westlife, I always knew that but those four men has already made their own respective spots in my heart. Shane got the bigger one. It's amazing thing, I'll always have the special spot for him. Forever. I don't think I'll get over Westlife.
To Westlife, I have enjoyed my teen years until the last mile of your way. Others think I never had, that I barely have a life but they know nothing. I enjoy your music, you made me believe more in a stuff called love. You taught me to dream and to chased it. There's so many stuffs to tell and it's been said and heard so many times but thank you... Thank you for everything you've shared with us and I forever thank your parents for making you guys incredibly gorgeous.
So long, Westlife.