So things are a bit bleak out there at the moment if you hadn’t noticed folks and you’d be forgiven for looking backwards for some reassurance. As if by magic, enter the Spice Girls.
About 55,000 of us all flocked to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday expecting a bit of nostalgic partying but what we got was probably one of the most well thought out and put together shows I’ve ever seen. A football stadium can be the epicentre of testosterone but when I walked up the tram steps they were covered in glitter as the Girl Power army marched towards Spiceworld.
In the grand tradition of modern society the press have been trying to dampen our spirits ever since Mel B’s ill advised admission of a bit of a thing with Geri and reports that the sound was bad causing people to walk out. Well from where I was in the Spice Circle, Geri and Mel B were joking with each other and having a ball and as for the sound, you didn’t need it with Manchester doing themselves proud and in fine voice.
The show itself is a camp rollercoaster through Spiceworld with our four heroines appearing as revamped versions of their alter egos – Geri has traded the union jack mini dress for a regal version, Mel C is a superhero, Emma in a more sophisticated mini dress and Mel B looked ridiculously hot in a skintight leopard print catsuit.
From then on there were fireworks all the way through, not just at the end for our Spices, rainbow confetti to celebrate Pride month, butterfly confetti for Viva Forever and flashing bands for all audience members that lit up the stadium in different colours.
It’s a tough call to make every punter feel involved in a stadium gig, I remember going to see Madonna at Wembley ten years ago and feeling very removed from the whole experience, but the Spices have achieved this.
In a world where the likes of Anne Widdecombe say science may cure homosexuality, the Spice Girls had one mission and that was equality. The carnival opener made this very clear with the video screens telling us anyone no matter where they come from everyone is welcome in Spiceworld.
At the heart of the show is the music though. It’s true that the Spice Girls don’t have the biggest back catalogue thanks to Ginger jumping ship just two years into their world domination, something Scary doesn’t let her forget with a “You’d better not fucking leave tonight” and Ginger apologising yet again. However every hit was there and surrounded by classic album tracks which everyone still knew the words to. This made it much more enjoyable than 2007’s tour which had five indulgent solo songs and a bizarre 70s medley with a few Spice Girl hits tacked on.
It’s true that they are not the strongest singers or dancers but who cares when 55,000 people are singing along to Goodbye. Mel B is the one you can’t take your eyes off, she is an amazing dancer and entertainer even with her potty mouth, you can almost see her bursting inside when she has to slow down for a ballad. Seeing her busting her moves right in front of me for Holler was worth the ticket price alone.
A lot has been made of the missing fifth member and although Posh remains there in spirit, the show was perfectly fine without her, if anything the anarchic side of the Spices came out more which was fun.
I get that all the music snobs out there will be down on their return but at the end of the day, I’m still buzzing two days later and that is the power of music whether it’s an Ivor Novello winning song or a bit of zig-a-zig-ah and as the Spice Bus rolls on across the country, I hope that anyone who has a ticket has the best time ever and is in fine voice and parties like it’s 1997.