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Spice Girls, Croke Park, Dublin review - uncomplicated fun | reviews, news & interviews

Spice Girls, Croke Park, Dublin review - uncomplicated fun

Spice Girls, Croke Park, Dublin review - uncomplicated fun

Older, wiser - and absolutely fabulous: Spice World 2019 kicks off deliriously

The Spice Girls have become four for their reunion tourImages - Andrew Timms

They’re back and they’re looking and sounding good – and Spice Girls mania took over Dublin’s city centre for several hours before their concert yesterday. Hotels were booked out, every other woman I passed in the street was wearing a Spice Girls T-shirt or hat, and by mid-afternoon the whole city appeared to be moving as one towards Croke Park. 

Yet despite the fans’ enthusiasm, there’s always a worry that recreating a brand – as the Spice Girls became – from their mid-1990s heyday may make them seem dated or an irrelevance to a generation well versed in feminism and their own versions of girl power.

But in this iteration without Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham – the Spice Girls last performed live as a complete group at the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 Olympics, and before that in their 2007-2008 reunion tour – Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty) and Geri Horner (Ginger) have clearly been revitalised. Spice Girls, DublinEven the costumes neatly rework the 90s vibe and, I’m told, have a million sequins and pearls on the 100 costumes the foursome and their 20 dancers wear during the near two-hour show. 

The set, as befitting this momentous occasion of the biggest-selling all-female group (with nine UK No1s) getting back together, was huge, stretching the full width of one of Croke Park’s goal ends. This Spice World even had its own globe which, Times Square-style, pumped out messages, lyrics and photographs of the singers in their younger days. There were some poignant moments, too, when videos and pictures of the Spice Girls’ younger selves were shown on the on-stage screens; their modern selves, it was clear to see as they talked about what being a Spice Girl meant to them, are older and wiser.

And the music? No surprises in that department. The crowd, predominantly women and girls, from pre-teens to their grannies, knew what they really, really wanted – a run-through of the hits please, and don’t muck around with the staging. 

They got just that as the four women appeared from beneath the stage with accompanying pyrotechnics to deliver a storming “Spice Up Your Life” to open the show, segueing into “If You Can’t Dance” and closely followed by an equally strong “Who Do You Think You Are”.

The hits kept coming, but there were a few tracks that even the keenest fan might have trouble singing along to. The Spice Girls really got their funk on, though, with a heartfelt rendition of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”; it was a positive message that fitted squarely into the statement writ large on the screens at the top of the show: “We welcome all ages, all races, all gender identities...”

There was a lot of love, too, in the between-numbers chat, as Horner and Brown traded friendly insults and they mentioned the absent Beckham in a couple of changed lyrics. When the foursome ended “Viva Forever” with a group huddle, it was a genuinely touching moment, their obvious joy infectious, while another bunch of hits – “Say You’ll Be There”, “2 Become 1” and “Wannabe” were met with deafening roars from the 80,000 crowd.

Yes, the cracking five-piece band and dancers did do some of the heavy lifting (and maybe Auto-Tune made a contribution), but crikey, these women know how to make pop music fantastic, uncomplicated fun. It’s good to have them back.

Crikey, these women know how to make pop music fantastic

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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