WHEN Shane Filan shot to fame, going on tour meant being herded by burly bodyguards past hordes of hysterical fans, and performing to deafening screams on stage.

On his last tour he took his wife and children along on the tour bus, and they joined him on stage at some of the shows. And Shane wouldn't have it any other way.

Now the former Westlife frontman is back on the road with the second leg of his Right Here tour.

"The kids are already asking when they can get on the tour bus!" smiles Shane. "I took them on the last tour for two weeks, it was great spending time with them. We took to the road as a family, on a double-decker tour bus, with the kids in bunk-beds. It was so much fun.

"The kids were behind the band, peeping out, and in Birmingham I brought them on stage with me. It's something they'll always remember."

For this second leg, Shane is appearing at venues suggested by fans. "I was really proud of how the Right Here tour transcended over so many different places I hadn’t performed in before. It was incredible to see the reaction from fans, to have them there with me enjoying the songs and joining in," he says. "It was such a great experience and we had so many requests for more dates that we thought we might as well give the fans what they want, and go back out on the road.

"I asked for venue suggestions on social media and had thousands of requests. We chose the top ten. With Westlife we did so many arenas, they're just big sheds. Performing in more intimate venues is a different experience. It's exciting."

Shane will perform Westlife favourites as well as his own tracks, including material from his album, Right Here which reached Number 1 in the Irish Album Charts and the UK Top 20 in its first week of release.

Shane was in his teens when he became one fifth of Westlife in 1988. The Irish boy band went on to have 14 chart-topping singles, 12 albums and 44 million sales. "We had so much success so quickly, it fulfilled all our dreams 1,000 times over,” says Shane, who grew up in Sligo inspired by pop acts like Backstreet Boys and Michael Jackson.

In 2012 Westlife called it a day, to the dismay of their devoted army of fans, and Shane flew to Nashville to record his debut solo album, You and Me. "It was a big deal to do it alone, I missed the lads on stage and being with them on tour. We were together 14 years, we're like brothers," says Shane. "We travelled the world 10 times, met presidents and popes. For young fellas from Ireland it was a great life, but we worked hard - we couldn't have released 12 albums in 14 years without working hard - and we had a good team behind us.

"Now I have my own band and we have fun on stage, but I have to do all the chat. I've become a different performer, it's made me more confident than I've ever felt on stage.

"But if I make a decision, there's no democracy, I have to stand by it."

Social media plays a significant role in the way Shane shapes his solo career and interacts with fans. "Twitter gives me that instant connection, we didn't have that with Westlife - we didn't even have a website, it was all magazines and TV shows," he says. "I can ask for fans' opinions on songs, artwork, the set list. They'll even let me know what they think of what I'm wearing on stage. When they started asking for more tour dates, I took it as a good sign!"

* Shane Filan is at the Alhambra on Monday, October 17. Call (01274) 432000.