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I never did get to see the Spice Girls live, and they were my favourite band once upon a time so this saddens me. Most of them aren’t even making music any more, but Melanie C (‘Sporty Spice’) has had a steady solo career since leaving the band, which in recent years has even encompassed musical theatre – she had excellent reviews for her role as Mrs Johnson in Blood Brothers and has recently been touring as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar.

In a move that made me feel very old indeed, Mel announced on Twitter that she was about to turn forty and was hosting a one-off concert at Shepherd’s Bush Empire to celebrate. I thought it might be fun to see Mel sing live, so I went ahead and bought a ticket. Just as well I bought it when I did, as the concert was sold out.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of the concert: I know of Mel’s early solo stuff (Northern Star, I Turn To You) and I have her most recent album The Sea, but I hadn’t paid much attention to her solo career in between. I needn’t have worried, though: I knew most of the songs she sang, and even the ones I didn’t know were catchy enough for me to like them instantly.

Mel sang with several guests during the night, including Ben Forster and Chris Moyles from the recent Jesus Christ Superstar production, and collaborators such as Adam Argyle. The biggest surprise came when she sang Pure Shores with Natalie Appleton – given the big rivalry between the Spice Girls and All Saints back in the day, this is something I never thought I’d see. Right at the end, Emma Bunton, who’d been watching the show from the circle all night (and waving to fans below) came on stage to sing 2 Become 1 with Mel. Maybe I never got to see the Spice Girls, but at least I got to see the next best thing!

Setlist

  1. Think About It
  2. Stupid Game
  3. Weak
  4. Northern Star (featuring Andy Burrows)
  5. Burn
  6. Loving You (featuring Ben Foster)
  7. Be The One (acoustic)
  8. Don’t Let Me Go (featuring Adam Argyle)
  9. Four to the Floor (featuring James Walsh)
  10. One By One (featuring James Walsh)
  11. Only Girl (In The World)
  12. You’ll Get Yours (with Peter Vetesse)
  13. Drown
  14. Ga Ga
  15. Beautiful Intentions
  16. Never Be The Same Again
  17. When You’re Gone (featuring Chris Moyles)
  18. Goin’ Down
  19. Next Best Superstar
  20. Enemy
  21. Pure Shores (featuring Natalie Appleton)
  22. I Turn To You
  23. 2 Become 1 (featuring Emma Bunton)

I loved the show and it has inspired me to buy Mel’s other albums. Another awesome thing about the show was the chocolate cake we all got at the end, handed out by aproned staff as we left the venue!

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