There are two types of people in this world. There are Spice Girls fans and then there are people who like music. Me… I like music. But by some quirk of fate I find myself betrothed to the other type – the Spice Girls fan. (Don’t ask me how this happened, I can’t explain it).
And my husband-to-be is not just your casual, garden-variety Spice Girls fan. He knows all the words, all the dance moves, and can quote all their record sales numbers (and don’t get me started on the doll collection). He stops just short of dressing up as Posh, Baby, or Ginger. And although he can be sometimes Scary, no one would ever accuse him of being Sporty.
So you can probably imagine the high frequency excitement caused by the announcement last year, of their re-union and tour. When he secured tickets within minutes of them going on sale, he was almost foaming at the mouth.
I then felt it incumbent upon me to bring him back to earth with some inconvenient truths:
- London is 10,000 miles from Geelong.
- You don’t have a job.
- You don’t have any money.
In fairness, he was between jobs – but as a teacher. And the concert date was inside school term. My Stef has many great qualities, but practicality and logistics are not amongst them.
I was quietly satisfied that we would not be going to a Spice Girls concert.
Fast forward six months and we are touching down on BA11 at Heathrow with the primary purpose of seeing the Spice Girls live at Wembley.
What Stef lacks in common-sense, he makes up for with determination. Somehow, he’d convinced his new principal (possibly a secret Spice Girls fan?) to give him a week of unpaid leave. Somehow, he’d convinced me to fly 20,000 miles to spend a week in London.
This is where he’d exploited my weakness – I love London almost as much as Stef loves Spice Girls (that sentence still works if you delete “loves Spice Girls”). A week in one of my favourite cities in the world in return for enduring a Spice Girls concert… Hell, I can do that.
We arrived in London Sunday morning for a Thursday night concert. Our first four days were a whirlwind of sightseeing, shopping and West End Shows before the ‘big event’ was finally upon us.
Tension was high in our micro Soho hotel room as Stef prepared for the concert. His hair wouldn’t cooperate, he had two pimples and his jeans no longer fitted – the official line is that the jeans, part of a concert outfit that had been carefully planned months earlier, had ‘shrunk’ in the wash. FML was muttered several times.
We set out at 4pm for Wembley Stadium in foreboding weather. Our tube began to fill with obvious Spice Girls fans as we got closer to Wembley – you can spot them by their platform sneakers.
Dodging showers we took the obligatory photos in front of the Spice Girls bus, then queued for the gates to open at 5pm. It was cold – cold like a London summer. I had layered up, Stef not so much. But numerous fans in skimpy outfits seemed to be inviting hypothermia.
Once inside the stadium we locate our seats and learn that the Spice Girls don’t come on stage until 8.30pm. I quickly calculate that, from hotel to hotel, this Spice Girls experience is going to take about 10 hours out of my life. Ah, the things we do for love.
How to kill 3 hours at Wembley Stadium? Spotting wannabe Spice Girls in the crowd is a good start. There’s a guy in a leopard skin mini skirt who might be Hairy Spice, a die-hard fan that looks like Old Spice, a few Really-Shouldn’t-Wear-That-In-Public-Spices and a whole lot of Lumpy Spices. But there’s no doubt that everybody’s… havin’ a good time!
I’m cold to the bone and there’s still time to kill. At this point, what I want, what I really really want, is thermal underwear and a hot water bottle. So I start cutting laps of Wembley Stadium – it helps to keep me warm, passes the time, and gets me to my daily step count. I can inform you that there are approximately 1100 steps in a lap of level 2.
Finally the Spice Girls (sans Posh – a blessing for anyone with ears) come on stage and the crowd erupts in rapture and delirium. Stef is fan-girling in sheer ecstasy. They open with two undeniably joyous pop songs and even I get caught up in the high energy.
This is followed by three or four lesser hits I swear I’ve never heard before, and I feel like I’m losing my buzz.
But I’ll admit it, they’re a lot better than I expected and the audio issues from earlier concerts seems to have been sorted out. There’s a lavish stage with spectacular lighting and special effects to help carry the show. And they are all looking pretty damn good for ageing popstars.
A troupe of dancers help fill the space left by numerous costume changes. Later in the show the girls do some pretty lame on stage banter and froth on about how much they love their fans – so much so that even I am hoping they’ll start singing again.
And pretty soon they are back into their mega hits as the show builds to its climax. Stef is slamming it to the left, he’s having a good time. The crowd is shaking it to the right, they’re feeling fine. There might even be chicas to the front, but hell I don’t even know what a chica is. And I can’t believe I’m plagiarising Spice Girls lyrics.
This concert was a slickly produced spectacle. Dazzling lighting and visuals, flamboyant costumes, great dancers and of course those infectiously catchy pop songs delivered with better than expected vocals. I can’t say that I’m suddenly a Spice Girls fan, but I’m forced to concede that I came away from the concert with a higher opinion of them.
Wrapping up with Stop and Wannabe, Stef declares this ‘the greatest moment of my life’. Worth the trip to London.