October 5, 2011 is one of the much-awaited dates in my life. Yes! Westlife is scheduled to hold their fourth concert in Jakarta. It’s like a mini dream comes true. I have been dreaming to watch the Irish boys live in the city. Too long have I kept that personal wish that I sometimes forget I have ever had that kind of silly hope.
The year is 1999. That was one of the crucial years in my school days since I was about to have final exams for junior high school. In between serious days on studying, I happened to listen to “Swear It Again” from one of my favorite radio stations in Surakarta city. I fell for the song once I listened to it. The name of Westlife crossed my mind not long after that. It was from the song called “If I Let You Go” that I admitted they were indeed very tempting. From that, I became part of millions of girls who were madly in love with the boys.
So gradually, I listened to more and more of their songs. “Flying Without Wings” was not on my fave list (but it is now). I became so much in love with them thanks to “Fool Again” although I heard rumors that accused the band from copying similar song from U.K’s Take That. I dont care though!
I started buying Westlife’s first album. I could not stop listening to their songs; all tracks are amazing. Even unpopular ones like “Try Again”, “What I Want Is What I’ve Got,” and “I Miss You” were incredible for me. I wholly enjoyed what they sang even if I didnt really get into what they said. Later did I know on the meanings of the songs, which are quite deep.
After buying the first album, I purchased their posters, magazines that contained their news even only for few pages. I cut their pictures then stick them in the walls of my bedroom. When the news on their first concert in 2000 reached Indonesia, I was so excited yet sad because I knew I was not going to make it. Apart from not having enough money to buy a ticket, I did not have any guts to travel all they way from Karanganyar to Jakarta, which looked like a deadly city for me ( I heard so many unwelcome stories about Jakarta from my neighbors).
On the day when they held the concert in the city, I quickly grabbed for teenage magazine and tabloids to satisty my curiosity on how enthusiastic Jakartans in welcoming the boys. I spent most of my pocket money just to buy those papers. It did not stop there. A couple of days after the concert, I forced my dad to drive me to Surakarta, which is 30 minutes from my home, to seek Kawanku’s special edition on Westlife’s concert. But to no avail. We circled the city from newstand to newstand but empty-handed. The special editions were sold out! I was so devastated.
In order not to get loose from the boys, I stay turned every Friday afternoon in a special programs dedicated for boyband lovers like me. In early 2000s, boybands were so powerful that the radio set aside one-hour program to feed their fans’ minds. I even wrote two letters to the hosts of the program who later sent replied letters to my school. I was so embarrased but joyful when one of classmates gave the replied letter to me, along with the poster of the program. Oh my… What a dummy moment!
In 2002, I still clearly remembered their popularity was replaced by Meteor Garden. Most girls turned to the casts and left boybands. I remained faithful with the band. I kept on buying their second and third album. To my surprise, I did not follow much on the lyrics in those albums. All songs were good but they were too “adult’ for me to absorb. The music was much more complicated, not as easy-listening as that in the first album.
2002 marked an on-off period between me and the band. I was busy with my college and new music taste. I began to love The Corrs, Celine Dion, and Kelly Clarkson. I unintentionally turned a bit away from the boybands. Thus, I did not feel sad when Brian McFadden, one of the Westlife’s personnels, decided to leave the band and went on solo. Even when Mark Feehily, another member, admitted he was a guy, I felt okay though was shocked. I thought the band was going to split up since I know how influential Brian was, but Westlife was going strong. Although I acted like I did not care, I was very happy in knowing they kept on releasing more albums until now.
I was completely at loss when Westlife produced recycled songs from Frank Sinatra. I hated a bit when they did so because I dislike jazz. But still, Shane Filan’s voice has always been succesful in blowing my mind away even when he sings jazz songs. Of all aforementioned admiration and love toward the band, I, and maybe other Westlifers might share one common dislike. I sometimes hate the way Westlife love singing recycled songs. I did not mind when they decided to include “I Have A Dream” and “Seasons In The Sun in their first album, since they were old songs. But when they put “Home” or “You Raise Me Up”, which are quite new, in their albums, I could not deny that I started to think they are not creative.
But once “Amazing” and “Obvious” hit the air, I stopped to put forward recycled songs than their remarkable achievements. They sell 44 million records worldwide. They have million of fans, including faithful lovers in Jakarta. Above all else, they remain together since they have met under Westside in 1998. Their music is so much mature now.
When I knew they would meet their fans for the fourth time, I thought there were only few fans who would stand in line for concert tickets. Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, or the Jonas Brother must have surpassed Westlife’s fame. Would there be people who were going to spend thousand of rupiah for buying concert tickets just I was going to do?
I was completely wrong. All tickets for tribune 2 class, which is sold at Rp 600,000 each excluding tax, was sold out in just one day. I was forced to spend Rp 675,000 for a tribune 1 class ticket, excluding tax.
At first, I thought I did something crazy by spending too much money for this, especially in times when I need to be very careful in using my saving. But for the boys who colored and gave sweetest twist for my teenage life, was that too much to do?
A second chance emerged. After 12 years of waiting with on-and-off modes of hopes, I did not waste this most expected moment. All of their pictures could have been taken down from the walls of my bedroom. Glee casts, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga might become new idols. Boybands era could be over. People may underestimate the boys’ capabilities and give critics to my low music taste.
But Westlife is and will always be in my heart. I can hum the lyrics, sing, and even dance with their music. They make me happy. To them, I owe so much for bridging a truest love toward English language, which brings me to where I am now. And to God, I thank to You because You make them exist.
1. Westlife, 2000
2. Coast to Coast, 2001
3. World of Our Own, 2002
4. Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits, 2002
5. Turnaround, 2003
6. Allow Us to be Frank, 2004
7. Face to Face, 2005
8. Love Album, 2006
9. Back Home, 2007
10. Where We Are, 2009
11. Gravity, 2010