If you can find me anyone more excited than me at the prospect of seeing S Club 7 at the Genting Arena in the opening show of their ‘Bring It All Back 2015’ reunion tour last night, I’ll find you a liar.
Honestly, look how happy I was!
I remember it like yesterday, twelve years ago sat watching S Club 7’s, well S Club’s (after Paul had done a runner) last performance on CD:UK, Their final single aptly named ‘Say Goodbye’ along with a medley of their hits. I cried, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.
And there I was last night finally seeing them live. The excitement started as soon as it was announced the band were reuniting for Children In Need last year. I knew at that point the tour was coming and I knew I’d be there. Just as I had been when McBusted and Steps did the same. If you know me, you’ll know just how much I went on about it in the months and days leading up to and including yesterday.
Having had time to reflect, here’s a review of sorts.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from last night to be quite honest. I’d never seen them live before but I knew they’d put on amazing shows in their day. I had the most fun I think I’ve ever had at a concert though, something I promised myself would be the case, and my friends who accompanied me will back me up when I say I looked like I enjoyed it more than anyone else there too.
I tweeted an idea of what my perfect show would be, it would open with ‘S Club Party’ Rachel Stevens would have a solo section, ‘Reach’ would be the finale and ‘Don’t Stop Movin” the encore. The show instead began with album track ‘Bring The House Down‘. Not bad at all, fun, upbeat but perhaps not too familiar to everybody there, and bearing in mind we’d waited 13 or more years, I’d have hoped for better.
Though ‘S Club Party‘ was next, and on the day of the general election, forget the Tories, forget Labour, there really ain’t no party like an S Club party. The place was brought to life, and the band were starting to settle in to the scene at this point.
Singles ‘Two In A Million‘, ‘Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For You‘, ‘You’re My Number One‘ and ‘Alive‘ helped continue the party atmosphere and told us that at least as far as Jo is concerned, she hasn’t lost it, despite having been a bit shaky on Children in Need.
First part of the show done. Being brutally honest, as big a fan as I am, the second section was a mess.
Each member had their own little solo section. Steps did the same in their Ultimate Tour in 2012, and it worked really well. However this didn’t, and I hope changes are made for those going to subsequent dates because it took the life out of the concert a fair bit.
Tina was doing her dance to ‘Stronger‘, a track she has lead vocals for on third album ‘Sunshine’. I love the song and was delighted to see it, as I’d been listening to it for the first time in donkeys on the way to the venue. It was very monotone though, I don’t know if that’s because she’s not one of the stronger singers of the group, pardon the pun, and the screens lagging didn’t help either. She could have been accused of miming, bearing in mind there was no live band to accompany the group in Birmingham. That said I enjoyed the performance regardless.
She introduced Paul, and to be quite honest Tina I wouldn’t have lost any sleep not knowing he pulled down your curtain rail in 1999 for which he is yet to replace. Paul was nervous, very nervous. He came out with just a guitar and I wondered what the hell he was going to do. Even in the ’90s he danced like a dad (I can confirm that nothing’s changed there) and his interaction with the crowd was just as awkward. He performed an acoustic version of ‘Reach’, which was iffy to start with, but once the crowd had clocked on to what he was doing, it turned into one of the nicest moments of the show, the arena lit with thousands of smartphone torches, singing along to the band’s most iconic song. It was lovey, especially seeing Paul’s confidence grow during the song. I guess he had extra reason to feel nervous, with many suggesting his early departure from the band signaled the beginning of the end for S Club.
Naturally Paul introduced former lover Hannah on stage for her solo. This was the mess I was talking about. The audience fell completely flat for Hannah’s song ‘Straight Up’ (can’t lie, I’d never heard it before). Her vocals were flat too, in the monotone sense again giving me strong suspicions of miming. It was the first time I sat down during a performance, but I was content waiting patiently knowing Rachel would get her solo soon.
It was Jon & Jo next. I could have done without a Jo solo, she sings 90% of the songs anyway. I also felt Jon was more deserving of the stage to himself, like the others before him because he’s actually a really great singer, something he proved to the Genting crowd in the duet ‘Hello Friend‘. Would have liked him to sing ‘Sunshine’ off the album of the same name, as he’s the main vocalist on that. It was a great performance though.
Now it was Rachel’s turn. This was it, this what what I’d been longing for. Nope. She sang ‘Natural‘ as the other six joined her to provide backing vocals. Disappointed was an understatement.
The seven stayed out for the next two, singles ‘Have You Ever‘, one of my personal favourites. I had that on cassette! ‘You‘ followed, before Bradley’s solo, though it wasn’t as such, more a mini DJ set which had a few songs off the albums/TV shows, those being ‘Good Times‘, ‘Friday Night‘, ‘Dance Dance Dance‘, ‘Do It Till We Drop‘ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are‘. That was quite enjoyable to be fair to him. He didn’t seem phased by the occasion and was interacting with the crowd brilliantly.
Then I lost it. I heard the intro to ‘Some Girls‘ and I probably squealed in delight. Rachel was back on her own doing a solo single. Perfect. They could have scrapped the rest of the solos to give her an extended bit as far as I was concerned but she treated us to a mash up of that and ‘Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex‘, with the red ribbons and everything. It was definitely one of my highlights.
It sparked the show back into life for me, as the other members returned for ‘Viva La Fiesta‘ a song I had completely forgotten about, and forgotten how much I loved. Debut single ‘Bring It All Back‘ followed, and then another surprise, a cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’, which was actually brilliant. Like really, really good. Bradley and Paul were on vocals and did the song justice. The band also taught the crowd dance moves for it, which I will be doing wherever and whenever I hear the song in the future.
‘Say Goodbye‘ was next and it brought back memories of them splitting. Emotional. At that age your favourite band splitting up is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you. Last night gave me closure.
Despite the drawn out, messy solos section the show had gone far too quick for my liking, as I realised they were running out of singles. The next and final song was of course ‘Reach‘, this time the up-tempo version we all know and love featuring all seven of them. It was worth the wait. I think my happiness peaked at this point. You can bet your life I was singing at the top of my voice, dancing too. Nostalgia is beautiful.
They said tara a bit and buggered off, the crowd chanting and stamping their feet craving more, well, the two songs we know they hadn’t done yet. Back out they came, dressed in all white. ‘Never Had A Dream Come True‘. Beautiful, iconic, fitting, as seeing them live was a dream come true for me really.
As I hoped, the S Club party ended with ‘Don’t Stop Movin’‘, a fitting encore. And that was that. I’d finally seen S Club 7 live.
I mentioned earlier that I had no idea what to expect from this. My sheer excitement fooled me into thinking it would be the most amazing concert I’d ever been to. To some extent it was true, the nostalgia was more than enough for that. But if I’m taking everything into consideration – vocals, dancing, outfits, staging, visuals, crowd interaction etc. It could have been better.
It’s easy to forget they’re not my age anymore, for a start. It must have been bloody hard work because they surprised me with all the dancing. It wasn’t that bad at all really, even Paul! Was a little miffed with Jon dancing with a girl but that’s minor. The band haven’t performed in arenas in over 12 years too, and this was the very first night. Even the best acts aren’t brilliant on the first night of their tours.
Whilst I’m proud to say I was the first to see them on their comeback tour, I would have loved to have seen it a few dates in, once they’ve blown off all the cobwebs and tweaked a few things in the set and got rid of some of their nerves. I’m fully confident they’ll improve as the tour goes on, and I do feel harsh giving them criticism based on the first show. But I can only judge what I see.
The fact of the matter is, I’ve seen S Club 7 live. I can make some peace with my childhood, and I can’t put a price on that. The great moments really were great and whether or not they’ve done it solely for the money, I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to line their pockets and witness something I’ve longed to for three quarters of my life. 4 out of 5 stars, for nostalgia alone. They’ll hit 4 and a half before this tour ends, easy.
Of all the parties I’ve been to, this was by far the best. There really ain’t no party like an S Club Party. You’re wrong to believe otherwise.