Girl Power arrived in Bristol last night, and it brought the ’90s with it.
The final gig of Ashton Gate’s summer series took place on June 10, as south Bristol danced to the Spice Girls in the pouring rain. How very British.
The Spice Girls were performing at the stadium as part of their UK (and rumoured world) tour.
They’ve had criticism for the sound and vocals at other gigs (even Mel B said she hoped it’d improve after their opening show) but what do people expect? There are normally a few dodgy moments at outdoor gigs and the group aren’t exactly known for their pitch-perfect vocals.
See the best pictures from the gig in the gallery below
The tens of thousands of people who donned their ponchos and suffered through Bristol’s Monday-night gridlock to get to the stadium didn’t seem to mind, though.
After an impressive performance from support act Jess Glynne, who has built up quite the catalogue of songs, the crowd was entertained by a troupe of dancers in Hunger Games-esque costumes mimicking each of the Spice Girls’ looks. Then, to a roaring crowd, the Spice Girls arrived.
In a heartbeat, the crowd were too busy belting out Spice Up Your Life to notice any off-key moments.
‘The singing surpassed expectations’
For me, the singing surpassed expectations. Mel C’s voice was incredibly strong in sections and to be honest I’d stump up most of the ticket price to hear Scary Spice laugh for two hours.
While the gig made me realise there are quite a few Spice Girls songs I don’t know the words to (Holler or Something Kind of Funny clearly passed my childhood by) the set was a good mixture of hits and album tracks.
The highlights unsurprisingly came from absolute 1990s bangers like Wannabe, Viva Forever and Two Become One – but it did feel a little weird doing the dance moves to Stop in a stadium and not in my childhood bedroom.
Another memorable moment came during Goodbye. After Mel B made a dig at Geri for leaving them all those years ago, someone on the tech desk switched on the wristbands handed out to gig-goers and the stadium was awash with flashing lights.
Despite the well-documented ups and downs of Spice life, these girls clearly have a bond and it comes across on stage.
Like troopers and true performers, the girls put on a high-energy gig in the torrential rain and kept the crowd’s spirits up on a freezing Monday evening.
Did Emma Bunton become Drenched Spice? Yes.
Did Geri wear a poncho and puffa jacket for most of the show? Yes. But she’s Ginger Spice, her hair’s a precious commodity…
The now-four Spice Girls (you don’t miss Posh, by the way) aren’t pretending to be something they’re not, they know they’re not the world’s best singers. During one sing-along moment Mel B even said ‘Bristol, you’re in tune’ for Mel C to laugh back ‘they’re showing us up’.
What the Spice Girls do have, and always will have, is a repertoire of cheesy tunes and an ability to put on one hell of a show.
The crowd went wild for their rendition of We Are Family and the classic dance moves were out for Two Become One.
The outfits were sparkly, the dancers fantastic and the staging beautifully nostalgic – I found myself laughing at times just because of quite how ’90s it was.
These four women are pro-pop stars through and through – they know what they are doing. They danced in the rain and revelled in the crowd. For fans like me, who spent their childhood arguing with friends over who could pretend to be which Spice Girl, it was an emotional night full of memories and fun.
This gig was a soggy success and despite the fact 20 years have passed since they split – they look as incredible as ever on stage. ‘Has beens’, these are not – they will always be Spice Girls.
The full Spice Girls setlist
Spice Up Your Life
If You Can’t Dance
Who Do You Think You Are
Something Kind Of Funny
Military Cadence/Sound Off
Let Love Lead The Way
Never Give Up On The Good Times
We Are Family
Lady Is a Vamp
The Last Walt
Say You’ll Be There
2 Become 1