FOLLOWING a string of UK dates in much smaller venues than he is used to, the ex-Westlife star Shane Filan must be thrilled that in Northern Ireland at least, he can still sell out.
Last night's first of two Waterfront shows may have been a step down from the Odyssey Arena, where the singer's former outfit held court a record number of times, but every ticket was sold – and it'll be the same again tonight. Two years on from the best-selling boyband's farewell tour – and following a much-publicised descent into bankruptcy –Filan's fans were clearly delighted to see him back on stage.
Last night's set list leaned heavily on Filan's solo album, You and Me, including the singles Everything to Me, About You and Knee Deep in My Heart.
There were also a string of Westlife favourites, with the likes of Uptown Girl, What Makes a Man and You Raise Me Up whipping already delirious fans into even more of a frenzy.
In contrast to Westlife's larger-than-life theatrics, it was a relatively modest stage set, focusing on the songs rather than on pyrotechnics or elaborate costume changes.
Filan has said he'd rather have his new music than millions in the bank: on the strength of last night's performance, he could soon have both.
ANDREW JOHNSTON ***