Spice Girls kick off world tour
VANCOUVER – “Girl Power” has aged surprisingly well judging from the Spice Girls’ high-energy, fun and often racy kick-off of their reunion tour on Sunday night in front of nearly 16,000 screaming fans at GM Place.
The five Spices – Scary (Mel B), Ginger (Geri Halliwell), Posh (Victoria Beckham), Sporty (Mel C) and Baby (Emma Bunton) – haven’t shared a stage together since 1998, when Halliwell shocked the pop world by leaving the highly successful group – worldwide sales totalled 55 million – to continue on as a foursome until 2001 when they finally began pursuing solo careers.
Now the formerly flaming-haired-singer is back in the Spice fold with new softer blond streaks and the group’s famous and fabulous “girl power” appears to be fully intact.
The five singers wisely opened their hour-and-40-minute show with a lively trio of hits – Spice Up Your Life, Stop and Say You’ll Be There – that was preceded by a video showing five young girls playing dress up together in the bedroom of a house surrounded by magical butterflies.
“Is it good to see us back on stage together again?” asked Bunton to a roar of screams.
But the innocence of that video would soon take a back seat to a much more grownup show that included sleek, sexy and sequined costumes (all designed by Roberto Cavalli), burlesque-inspired numbers, and sexual suggestion a la a whip-carrying Mel B jumping into the audience to pick out a male volunteer to be strapped into restraints and male dancers being put in diamond-trimmed dog collars to be walked on all fours by the Spice women.
Try explaining that to your five-year-old.
Truthfully, the bulk of the audience seemed to be wig-and- costume wearing teenage and twentysomething women who were happily reliving their childhood in the mid-to-late ’90s of the Spice Girls heyday.
There was also the occasional drag queen like the guy in the orange fright wig and Union Jack dress doing his best Ginger Spice.
Otherwise, there were plenty of bells and whistles to keep even the most jaded audience member dragged along to accompany a younger fan interested.
Performing on a stage that boasted several video screens and platforms, a catwalk leading to a smaller stage on the floor and the best lighting money can buy, the group was backed by an eight-piece band and ten incredible male dancers.
And the hits-heavy set list was so cleverly choreographed and the Spice Girls energy was so infectious that their lack of vocal chops was hardly noticeable.
As we’ve known all along, the two Mels possess the best voices and everyone else has passable vocals but looks really good.
Beckham also appeared to be the most emotional Spice Girl on Sunday night choking back tears on at least two occasions, including during the new single Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) which saw her waving a hand in front of her face, and often embracing her fellow Spices on stage.
The show, however, was mainly about having fun and the Spice Girls did their best burlesque donning sexy versions of black tuxedos for Lady Is A Tramp before stripping down in front of the audience behind heart-shaped changing rooms for Too Much and later adding elegant white feathered fans and candy-cane stripped stripper poles for 2 Becomes 1.
The group also didn’t completely turn their back their alter-egos donning new version of their old costumes for Who Do You Think You Are, including Halliwell in her famous sequined Union Jack dress, Mel B in her leopard-print outfit and Beckham performing a catwalk strut in black aviator glasses while holding a cellphone.
Still, the most surprising thing was the strength of such solo performances as Mel B’s aforementioned whip-wielding number her cover of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, Halliwell’s solo hit, It’s Raining Men, and Mel C’s techno-inspired I Turn To You, which all matched such group standouts as Spice Up Your Life, Stop, 2 Becomes 1, Who Do You Think You Are, Viva Forever, Holler, Wannabe, and the emotional Mama and Goodbye.
The evening’s two guiltiest pleasure were a disco medley towards the end of the show and the encore reprise of Spice Up Your Life which featured everyone decked out in colorful outfits while silver confetti shoot up out of three cannons.
It was a giddy end to a giddy night.
What the Spice Girls played on Sunday night at the world tour launch in Vancouver:
Spice Up Your Life
Say You’ll Be There
Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)
Lady Is A Tramp
2 Becomes 1
Who Do You Think You Are
Are You Gonna Go My Way
It’s Raining Men
I Turn To You
Let Love Lead The Way
Celebration (disco medley)
If U Can’t Dance
Spice Up Your Life Reprise
Try explaining that to your five-year-old!!!
Spice Girls kick off world tour