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Band's life goes on

Westlife are heading back to the Toon. Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr has the details.

Westlife are heading back to the Toon. Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr has the details.

When Westlife last toured the country, rumours were rife it would be the group's last set of concerts.

But, as has been the case with the Irish pop stars for the past few years, the rumours proved to be unfounded and the lads today announced yet another tour and another show for Newcastle.

Westlife will play the Metro Radio Arena on April 3 next year, with tickets on general sale from 9am tomorrow.

It will be the group's 24th concert at the venue in the space of just five years - breaking their own record for gigs there.

Earlier this year, band member Kian Egan told the Chronicle he was amazed at Westlife's continued success and especially the response they always get from North East fans.

"We always get a fantastic reaction from the Geordie fans. All our shows there are memorable. But to think that more than five years on we would still be selling out there is incredible," he said.

With more than a dozen chart-topping singles behind them, perhaps it isn't surprising Westlife are still big news.

Knocked relentlessly by their critics, yet adored unconditionally by their fans, you can't argue with the statistics. "I know people mock us, but we do what we do," says Kian. "It is all about pop music and entertaining our fans. We don't pretend to be anything we are not, and while some may not like our music, there are plenty out there who do."

Between their debut single in 1999 and their last chart-topper, You Raise Me Up late last year, the lads have notched up two Brit Awards and four Record of the Year gongs.

And on their live performances, Kian says: "We like to go big. Our gigs are shows, in the proper sense of the word. Without distracting from the music, we like to give a big production, entertain.

"They seem to get bigger by the year. We're always looking at new ideas."

Westlife are at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, on April 3. Tickets are available from the usual outlets from 9am tomorrow.

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