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by David Lucas
All I can say is wow! On a Friday I got an e-mail from Melanie C's official website saying that I'd won tickets to see Mel C at the London Astoria the following Monday! About a month and a half ago I'd entered a competition on there and I was so surprised to win! From then on it was chaos, trying to find where the tickets were (in the end I had to pick them up from the venue), and someone to go with (everyone seemed to be busy!)
I arrived at about quarter past seven and picked up my tickets, packed in an envelope from Virgin Records. As I went in, the first thing to catch my attention was a massive Steps poster (they are playing there this Saturday). Also I couldn't help noticing how small it was inside! The floor area is about the size of the stage at Wembley! There was also a seated balcony at the top, but I'll tell you about that later.
We went straight to the front, as far as we could go, as it was standing only, and ended up about five rows of people from the front. I couldn't believe my luck because a lot of people followed us in so we were lucky to arrive when we did. The whole evening revolved around luck - lucky that I won tickets, lucky that I knew to pick them up and lucky we got there early enough!
In around half an hour's time the support group came on. They were quite rocky and everyone applauded politely, but the songs weren't particularly captivating. I don't even know what they were called and all their songs blended into one. However the main attraction was coming soon...
"Mel C! Mel C! Mel C!" shouted the crowd as the time approached. But soon we heard the chants "Emma!", "Baby Spice!", as we noticed that Emma was sitting on the side of the balcony above us! We waved to her and she kind of waved back (she looked me in the eye at one point!) but then she moved further back until Melanie C came on stage.
The clubby music playing in the background stopped and an infectious dance beat started, containing a repeated line "something's gonna happen". I knew that this was going to be Melanie C because her first song, "Soul Believer", contains that line! (Only sad obsessive Spice fans would know that, as it's not on her album!)
Mel was wearing a metalhead sleeveless black T-shirt with shiny silver writing, and blue jeans. Her hair was shorter than it had been previously, and kind of gelled down, it looked wet. Here is the full review of the songs performed by Mel C during the night:
The show kicked off with "Soul Believer", a brilliant uptempo rocky song for Melanie to jump onto the stage with. As I said before, it's not on her album but hopefully it'll be a B-side. The crowd reacted quite well to it, considering that most of them hadn't heard the song before (I heard it on Radio 1 as part of Radio 1 live in Manchester).
The next song was "Independence Day", slightly slower pop-rock vibe which saw Mel walking or jumping about the stage more. She came over to both sides of the stage individually for the verses, but I think she stayed longer on our side because Emma was on the balcony there. This one's not on her album either, but again, it received a good reaction.
Mel slowed things down on the title track of the album, "Northern Star". I was surprised by how much the audience sung along, she seemed pretty chuffed with that. Beautifully performed; she wasn't a note out of tune all night.
By "Be The One", an acoustic ballad, Mel still hadn't spoken to us, but I don't think the audience were bothered. At the end of each line Mel was singing "ooh ooh" and some of the audience turned into a kind of train type of sound, in higher pitch. It was really funny. Again, everyone sung along (or maybe it was more obvious on the ballads).
After that Melanie C actually spoke! She said something like "Do you wanna go a bit crazy? Do you wanna go ga ga?!" First massive cheer of the night came then, I reckon that "Gaga" is one of the most popular songs from the album. Cue much bouncing in the audience!
"Suddenly Monday" was the next song and it was fantastic! In the kind of jazzy style, instrumental at the end, Mel did some really cute jazzy dancing (kicking one leg left, right, sucking her cheeks in). It was really funny, another popular one. "I Turn To You" was performed much rockier than the album version (which is really dance type of song). Not a particularly good one, but again, much bouncing!
On "Feel The Sun", which is another ballad, the best moment was when she sung "this angel's my salvation" and showed her angel tattoo, which everyone got excited about. After this song she said something like "you lot are f***ing brilliant", which everyone got excited again about, apart from Mel, who looked shocked that she'd sworn!
Everyone started singing along during a nice acoustic ballad, "If That Were Me", which was followed by the massive "Goin' Down". Mel seemed to be enjoying herself, the audience were singing, resulting in a fantastic performance!
The next song was... "Wannabe". You should have seen Emma's face during this one! She was just kind of staring at her, not really reacting, just staring! More rocked up than the original, Mel sung all the parts apart from the second line of the bridge, which was sung by the audience (so tell me what you want what you really really want!").
The show continued with another non-album track, "I Wonder What It Would Be Like". and it was a good time for it, after the well-known "Wannabe" and "Goin' Down". I heard it on the Northern Star documentary, and it's quite a heavy rock song. The next one was "Go", which was accepted very well by the audience. As she said, "I gotta go" at the end, she went! Until...
The encore! You could hear more "Mel C! Mel C!" chanting, occasionally broken by a shriek of "Emma!". Mel came back on-stage to huge applause before saying "I feel that tonight we've become very close. Do you want to get closer?" which was a perfect introduction to her next song, "Closer". She performed it acoustically and it was fantastic, better than the album version.
She finished the show with an acoustic version of "Goin' Down", which still got the crowd going with much singing along. It was fantastic! Before Mel left the stage she quickly shouted "you've been great... buy my new single!!" and then she run off cheekily. The audience tried to get her back on but the men came on stage to put the instruments away.
So, thanks Virgin Records for the free tickets! I've even managed to convert my anti-spice friend to Mel C!