Former Westlife star Shane Filan says he ‘can’t wait’ to return to ‘amazing’ Belfast when he brings his ‘Right Here’ tour to the city in March.
Shane, whose recent second album reached number one in the Irish charts and number 11 in the UK, is set to play the Ulster Hall on March 15.
Speaking to the Star ahead of the tour, Shane said he is looking forward to getting back on the road, and he is currently preparing a setlist for the show, which he guarantees will be ‘fun’ for those who go along.
“I can’t wait,” said Shane, who described himself as being in ‘tour mode’.
“It’s the best time of the year. It’s the most exciting time and the most fun.
“I’m playing the Ulster Hall for the first time, so I’m looking forward to that,” he added,
“Belfast is always amazing. It’s one of the best places to come to. It’s always an amazing show and an amazing atmosphere,” he said,
“I’m very excited to play the Ulster Hall. It’s one of those historic venues, like the Olympia in Dublin.
“As a singer you try to play every venue you can. It’s the same with the Palladium in London, where we’re playing on this tour. The Waterfront is a lot newer and the Odyssey has such a connection to Westlife. I have lots of wonderful memories of Belfast.
“The Ulster Hall is also seating and standing, it’s the only venue on the tour that has standing so people are going to have a party,” he laughed.
“It’s iconic for standing, it will be interesting to see what the atmosphere is like.”
Shane will start rehearsals for his tour next month and is currently working on the setlist, which will be a mix of the old and the new.
“I’m working on the setlist with my tour manager and the MD for the band. I won’t do all of the new album, it’ll probably be about half the album, a few from the first album and some Westlife songs.
“It’s difficult to pick which Westlife songs to do. I’ll do You Raise Me Up, Uptown Girl. Picking them is the most important thing. That’s the main reason I’m there.
“It’ll be a great show,” he promised. “I love performing and Westlife gave me the opportunity to do that so it’s important to keep it there.”
Shane also promises some ‘surprises’ for fans.
“Last year I had a section where I did Blurred Lines and Avicii, I want to try to do something like that again, so everyone can have a laugh.
“I want them to come in and have fun. It’s usually a girls night out, sometimes there are three or four girls, sometimes seven or eight, so I want them to have fun.”
Shane has co-written many of the songs on both of his solo albums, so does he enjoy having more input into the music through his writing?
“I do,” he said. “I think I enjoyed both. I liked the way we worked with Westlife, but you have to take more control on as a solo artist.
“You have to talk about yourself, and perform yourself. You have to put your heart and soul into it as much as possible.
“I think the new album is better than the first. You have to try to keep getting better and evolving, till you find that one incredible song that every artist craves.
“I’m always trying to improve,” he said. “You’ve gotta go for it.”
Shane, who described his new album as ‘more ballad friendly’, says he has challenged himself vocally, more than he has ever done.
“I feel I’ve done the best I can,” he added.
With a collaboration on Right Here with former Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, does Shane have any dream collaborations he’d like to fulfil?
“The duet with Nadine, ‘I Could Be’ was amazing. It’s the first duet I’ve done as a solo artist.
“To do a duet the person has to be a great singer, and she is a great singer.
“There are loads of people I would love to work with, but Bryan Adams is one of my favourite all time singers,” he said.
Despite having never met the Canadian star, Shane isn’t disheartened. “You never know,” he added about a duet.
“I was doing a show at a festival in Ireland and he was on one night and I was on the night before, so I never got to meet him. He’s someone I’ve never actually met, but maybe someday.
“He is definitely a big vocal idol of mine, especially from my teenage years. He has an amazing tone that’s never changed.
“I am a ballad singer, that’s who I am, that’s what I love to do. I love singing big up tempo numbers, but ballads are what I love.
“It really shows your voice for what it truly is. There is an intimacy with just a piano and a vocal, it is something special. And if an audience is silent, then silence truly is golden in that moment,” he stated.
Shane can be guaranteed the crowd will be anything but silent in Belfast, however, where the atmosphere is always electric for the star.
“It’s going to be a great show in Belfast,” he said. “I’m really excited about playing there again. We’ll have a lot of fun.”
Standing tickets are still available for the show on Tuesday March 15. Visit Ticketmaster.ie or www.tickets.waterfront.co.uk