Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gig Review: Girls Aloud

We've just got back from Birmingham where, following a series of scheduling mistakes, we ended up seeing Girls Aloud's Chemistry Tour a week earlier than we'd planned.

phot by EmmieIt was completely worth the 250 mile round trip. Not only did we get a fantastic hotel, but the gig was one of the best arena concerts I've seen in a long time. There were magic tricks, there were show tunes, there were fireworks so close to me they're still imprinted onto my retina.

The Girls themeselves were much more comfortable on stage than on last year's theatre tour. The choreography was more complex and energetic, while the vocal performances were bereft of nerves. Mind you, there were more than a few occasions where someone's microphone wasn't faded up at the appropriate time, which suggests a certain amount of miming - although this never affected Nadine, the group's most accomplished vocalist. Blimey, that girl has a pair of lungs on her and no mistake.

The musicians were a marked improvement, too, handling the complex arrangement of Xenomania's hits without breaking a sweat. Out of 20+ songs, the highlights were the full-out thrash of Wake Me Up, an Amerie-enhanced Love Machine and a surprisingly energetic cover of Kaiser Chief's I Predict A Riot -although they chickened out of singing "Girls run around with no clothes on to borrow a pound for a condom", changing it to 'bus home'. For shame.

I also spotted a concert first: The inhaler roadie, on-hand throughout the show for Nicola to have a puff.

There were a few minor quibbles with the evening, however. The concert was very squarely aimed at kids, with a sub-Nickolodeon 'plot' suggesting the Girls were created in a laboratory by a mad professor. This was completely unnecessary, considering that the five rows in front and behind us were predominantly 18-and-over.

photo by EmmieThe costumes, too, were a little peculiar. Apparently someone in the GA camp believes high-waisted shorts should be resurrected from the 1980s; Kimberley seemed to have a perpetual problem with ill-fitting bras (they've got a measurement service at M&S, you know); and poor old Nadine had to dance around in a tutu for half an hour. Not a good look, although the accompanying fishnets were most welcome.

Costume nightmares aside, the girls seemed to be having a great time. They were so relaxed that when it wasn't their turn to sing or dance they'd stand having a natter with each other. (Nadine even managed a crafty snog with one of the dancers at one point).

They do need a bit of work on their stage patter, though. Nicola broke the ice with this classic: "It's great to see all those banners out there... and all the official merchandise".

Anyway, a great night was had by all and Birmingham was a much nicer city than I expected. To the people who bought our tickets for Wembley next Saturday: You are going to have a fantastic evening.

photo by Emmie

No Good Advice
Love Machine (including 1 Thing)
Bohemian Like You interlude
Long Hot Summer
Whole Lotta History
Watch Me Go
I Predict A Riot
See The Day
Sound Of The Underground
Musical Medley:
Flashdance (What A Feeling)
The Show
Intro / Models
Racy Lacey
I'll Stand By You
Biology Reprise

Wild Horses
Wake Me Up

  • Top picture from Robmacca's blog
  • All other photos courtesy of Emmie on the popjustice messageboards. Thank you!

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