Before I get down to the nitty gritty, I must admit, this is way out of my comfort zone, and I had no idea what I was in for.

Arriving just in time for Geordie X Factor contestant from a couple of years back, Amelia Lily, there were flashing bunny ears and glow sticks everywhere, not adorning the young, but the middle aged. Young Miss Lily tried to play a stripped back set, but failed miserably, as a performance without any backing set on such a gargantuan stage is near impossible. Clad in a short unappealing leather dress, Lily played a couple of unknown tracks before putting in a vocally flawless cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’, backed by an acoustic guitar, which was very pleasant.

She launched into a currently unreleased single ‘Party Over’ that pockets of the growing audience seemed to be familiar with; it’s an upbeat track with a strange dubstep undercurrent that sent Lily bouncing around her microphone stand. Ending on her most recognisable track, ‘You Bring Me Joy’, the audience started to enjoy themselves and Lily left the stage after thanking everybody imaginable. Unfortunately, the last two tracks were sung over a backing-track, which is an unrivalled sin. The young Geordie has a huge range, and would have been much better belting out ballads than dancing around to sugar coated forgettable pop tracks.

Anticipation from a very mixed gathering builds; a crowd of hen parties, the young, old, and husbands dragged along. Videos on the two big screens teased the expectant crowd, videos spanning their ten year career, a career in which they have amassed a staggering twenty top ten hits.

The biggest selling girl band of the 21st century descend from above onto the stage on a giant Girls Aloud logo to a deafening collective scream and kicked straight into their debut single ‘Sound of the Underground’ and crashed straight through ‘No Good Advice’. After a brief hello, the girls regrouped and slowed the tempo right down with ‘Life Got Cold’, where the often criticised Sarah Harding took centre stage.

The five piece glided from hit to hit with aplomb and five songs in saw the first of many costume changes, this time into a carnival costume which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Rio. They shook off their huge back pieces for the banger that is ‘Love Machine’, which saw much cavorting from the girls with their macho male dancers, especially Cheryl. My envy depleted for a short while as they tackled ‘Whole Lotta History’, one of their better ballads and one of the vocal highlights from Nadine. ‘Can’t Speak French’ allowed for more sultry and seductive hip shakes and bum-wiggling and then came ‘Biology’, a clear fan-favourite that saw many out of their seats and unfortunately trying to mimic Cheryl’s magnificent manoeuvres.

A short break commenced and before you knew it, the girls were once again atop their giant logo hovering over the thousands beneath journeying across to a second stage, in front of which we are luckily sat. ‘Untouchable’ bought down the tempo once more, with Nicola Roberts, often unfairly maligned by many boring critics, taking the floor, and brilliantly so – the best voice amongst the five.

A few more hits ensued, before an incredibly poor rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe’. From a girl band who have enough of a back catalogue to fill about 3 days, they astonishingly chose to cover somebody else. Phone screens and “anything with a light” are ordered out by Nadine for the softly-softly ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’, a song that apparently “every girl in the room can relate to”. Apparently.

Before leaving the stage, Cheryl’s superior dance moves once more came to the fore during ‘Something New’, which demonstrated why she is the most popular member of the band for both genders.

Returning for their encore in glitterball-red gowns, emotions ran high for a couple of the band members and tears streamed down their shiny faces throughout ‘Stand By You’. Rumours that this really is their final tour seem likely.

Saving the best till last, their big band Nu-Supremes wonder hit ‘The Promise’ bought an end to the 90 minute pop master show with poise.

This may not have been ‘my thing’ but this was pop at its spectacular best; a huge stage show filled with glitz and glam and done without pretence or bad lip-syncing. Hanging up their heels, the uber successful feisty five wave a final farewell on a short but sweet tenure at the top of their game.

Adam Keyworth

…Adam has been listening to The Cribs – Leather Jacket Love Song…

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