Westlife in Newcastle: Band briefly halts Utilita Arena concert to allow Covid-19 survivor to share his story

What started off as playful banter between a band and a regular turned into a story of survival and triumph during Westlife’s performance in Newcastle

It was an extra magical night for one audience member during Saturday evening’s Westlife performance at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle. The audience member, known simply to the crowd at Steve, had been in the front row to see Westlife perform the night before, prompting some playful banter between the band and Steve.

But when Steve, still wearing breathing apparatus despite beating the illness, started to reveal how important Westlife were whilst he dealt with the effects of Covid-19, the band decided to stop their performance and allow the audience member to discuss his story of survival during the lockdown periods the United Kingdom experienced.

Band member Nicky Byrne was first to notice Steve sitting in the exact seat he had during the band’s Friday performance as the audience member was handed a microphone to explain the importance of Westlife’s song I’m Already There. Despite some pantomime like boos initially when he began to speak, his story became an emotional experience for everyone in attendance.

After addressing the playful boos by saying “It’s not a good start is it?” Steve went on to discuss his experience during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was in hospital for two months last year with Covid. I lost my brother a month before and everything. So here I am, I’m still here" he explained to the band.

“I’m Already There. I didn’t see my kids for two months who were six and four at the time. I hadn’t seen them for two months and I listened to I’m Already There and I cried my eyes out. And here I am" he defiantly recalled, with other attendees confirming that Steve pumped his fist in the air to rapturous applause from both fans and the band themselves.

Westlife performed only as a trio during their Newcastle dates, due to Mark Feehily recovering from a fever on Friday and advised not to perform under doctors orders. The remaining members of the band still delighted audiences across both nights as Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne and Kian Egan performed to a packed crowd with hits like My Love, When You’re Looking Like That and Swear It Again.