INCREDIBLE: Croke Park farewell was gig of my career – Kian
By Melanie Finn , Showbusiness Editor
WESTLIFE’s Kian Egan described the band’s farewell concert at Croke Park as the best gig of his life.
And he said the band were thrilled they went out on such a high in front of 160,000 screaming fans before parting ways after 14 years together.
“As a musician, you never really want to perform your last concert. It was something that was hard to even think about but that was honestly the gig of my career, the best one ever,” Kian said.
“Standing there on that stage was an indescribable feeling, it’s something I’ll remember for ever.”
Echoing his comments, band-mate Mark Feehily admitted the finality of the occasion hadn’t really sunk in.
“It hasn’t hit me at all, that we’ve just done our last concert. I would say it will take about two weeks for it to really sink in,” he said.
“When they first opened the gates of Croke Park and the crowds started coming in, I just had this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach and I thought ‘This is it now’.”
The band finally wound down their two-hour set shortly after 11pm on Saturday night.
The show went off without a hitch as the band performed a medley of hits from their lengthy career, with plenty of fireworks and pyrotechnics,
All four members were clearly emotional as they thanked their fans and paid tribute to manager Louis Walsh.
But the night was more of a celebration of the band’s career, which saw them notch up 45 million record sales and countless awards.
And as soon as they curtain finally came down on their last performance, the fun-loving gang wasted little time in getting the party started.
Their manager Louis splashed out more than €100,000 on an exclusive party in the main arena of the O2 where they were joined by family and friends.
“The guys went out on a high, no doubt about it. They could have gone on another ten years but they left at the height of their career,” Louis said.
PR guru Joanne Byrne organised the party and gave out just 600 gold wristbands to their nearest and dearest.
A massive montage featuring the covers of all 12 of their albums had been set up around the walls of the venue, with a flashing dance-floor built especially for the bash.
Each band-member had their own section for their guests, with buckets of rose champagne on the tables with a top DJ from Lillie’s Bordello spinning the hits on the decks.
There was also a complimentary bar, finger food and a chocolate fountain.
Westwives Jodi Albert, Gillian Filan and Georgina Ahern were all looking uber-glam for the occasion, as was WAG Jane Given, there with husband Shay.
There were also a few surprise faces in attendance, including billionaire businessman JP McManus.
Also there were MCD boss Caroline Downey Desmond, MTV beauty Laura Whitmore and Eoghan McDermott, Kian’s pal from The Voice Of Ireland.
Boyband The Wanted were also there, as were Jedward, who wore matching gold jackets and were followed by a cameraman.
Nicky Byrne said it was exactly the kind of party they wanted to mark the occasion.
“We’ve done this place 79 times and I remember in the meeting everyone was saying different places to have the party. We gave Joanne the budget and she just transformed it,” he said.
Speaking about their grand finale in Croke Park, he said: “When I started talking to the crowd about how we were being watched in cinemas at that moment and said ‘Ireland say hello to Europe’ and they started singing back Ole Ole Ole, it was just amazing.
“We could never hope to top that. If you wrote a book and you had to best way to end your career, that would be it. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was our best gig ever.”