The Spice Girls landed in Montreal last Thursday with their Return Of The Spice Girls tour. Armed with a great girl friend, home-made “What’s your Spice” t-shirts (mine was Ginger), and the golden ticket to make my way through the gate, I felt like I was about to time travel.
The Bell Centre was packed with 1,400 fans, mostly women and girls who weren’t old enough to talk when the Spice Girls debuted in 1996 with Spice. Security was high as we were admitted through the door around 7 p.m.
The stadium filled with eager fans as club hits boomed the sound system. Signs were being held up “Where is David?” and “Spice up our life!” professing the re-awakening of a fandom. The lights finally went down and the crowd was screaming and welcoming.
With all the pizzazz, glitz and iconic girl power that only they can possess, the Spice Girls rose to the stage looking like statues, adorned in gold costumes. There they stood larger-than-life. Posh, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Ginger. The return of the Spice Girls.
They started singing “Spice Up Your Life” and my inner 12 year-old was doing back flips while waving a glittered, furry pink baton belting, “Colors of the world, Spice up your life.” I was transported to a time when “Girl Power” was my mantra. Everyone was up on their feet.
The costumes were gorgeous and still reflected each girl’s individual personality. Gone were the cheesy, but classic 90’s outfits: Baby’s pink baby doll dresses, Posh’s little black dress, Sporty’s simple track suit, Scary’s skin tight body suit, and Ginger’s underwear-bearing tiny union jack dress and chunky red boots. In were designs by world famous fashion designer, Roberto Cavalli.
Cavalli’s designs updated the classic outfits while respecting each girl’s iconic style. Victoria Beckham was still Posh with a couture runway style. Mel B was a wild force in her skintight costumes. Mel C was sporty but sexy — still in running shoes. Geri Halliwell was still Ginger in a union jack dress that glittered under the lights. Cavalli graduated Emma Bunton from Baby Spice to “Classy Spice” with mod dresses and well fitted mini-shirts.
The music was better than ever and their vocals have matured and seemed to have more muscle. It is obvious that this tour is special to them, as the women beamed with positive energy and joy throughout the entire show. The song that evolved the most was “Mama.” This isn’t surprising since most of the ladies are mamas themselves. The tune being about their mothers and now being mothers themselves brought the song full circle, and transformed it from being a cheesy ditty to a beautiful, emotion-driven song.
Each Spice, except for Posh, delivered a song that highlighted their solo careers. Victoria Beckham instead worked the runway to highlight her role in the fashion world. Most surprising was Emma Bunton who sang her song “Maybe,” from her 1960’s-inspired album Free Me. Baby Spice performed with more power than most may remember her possessing.
The Spice Girls taught me what girl power was before I was old enough to watch Sex and the City. Dancing in place, singing in unison with my gal pal, and watching these idols of my past perform made me smile and beam. I remembered how that innocent perception of girl power was ever so wonderful.
The Spice Girls return to the Bell Centre Sunday, Feb. 24