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Live Review: S Club – 28th October 2023 – O2 Arena, London, UK

5 min read

It’s been a very long time since we have been to an arena event during the day, let alone a major pop concert, but what better way to spend a drizzling day in London than watching one of the early noughties biggest pop outfits perform for an arena overflowing with nostalgia craving fans.

To say the road to an S Club reunion has been a rocky one is quite the understatement. After years of touring in ever changing line-ups of the once 7-piece group, Jo, Bradley, Paul, Hannah, Rachel, Tina and Jon finally all signed on the dotted line and revealed a major comeback to arenas up and down the country in the first full reunion since their hey day back 20+ years ago. With the devastating news of Paul Cattermole’s death a few months ago and the following departure of Hannah Spearritt, 7 become 5 and a rebranded S Club tour was announced.

Having already played the stages of many of the countries most prominent venues, London’s turn came over the last weekend with 3 sold out shows at the O2 Arena and we were lucky eought to attend Saturdays matinee performance.

Call me a pessimist but I admittedly had some minor doubts about how the remaining members of the group would handle holding down a sold out arena tour minus two of its members, especially with one of those under such tragic circumstances, or whether this tour would even go ahead, but any doubt that was there as I headed into the venue were very quickly washed away as the quintet, all dressed in their own individual crayon colours and style emerged to perform opening classic, S Club Party to a roaring applause from their devoted fans. The band’s powerful performance of one of their signature hits had the entire crowd up on their feet and dancing along to the songs signature dance moves.

Surrounded by one of the most colourful and effective stage designs that we have seen at the O2 for quite some time thanks to its ode to brightly lit 70’s drive through signage and a pyramid shaped platform where the band would position themselves throughout the show and proving you don’t need an entourage of backing dances to complete a show, each of the outfits 3 mega-selling records were given some time under the spotlight during the course of the 90 minute performance.

Debut album S Cub had its fair share of features – Your My Number One featuring early in the set and getting the crowd belting back the lyrics to one of the groups signature ballads and debut single Bring It All Back proving its earworm staying power in pop and dressed with impressive, brightly lit neon-Miami themed visuals on the gigantic screens that displayed behind the groups tight choreographed dance moves. Two In A Million also found its rightful place in the set before they teased the crowd with new material in the shape of new song These Are The Days, proving there is still a lot of gas left in the S Club tank.

Motown vibes dripped out of the band’s performance of Sunshine’s title track while the venue was lit up by the black and white psychedelic visuals that displayed on the overhead screens before a disco ball lowered from the ceiling and Tina led a memorable unveiling of fellow Sunshine number, Stronger.

While former member Hannah Spearritt didn’t get even a hint of a mention during the entire show, a moving tribute to Cattermole had the entire audience transfixed on the flashing images of behind-the-scenes footage of the bands early years; showcasing the love they had for their fallen bandmate. The tribute was set to a recording of Cattermole-led song, Good Times and following the emotional moment the remaining members of the band took back to the stage to sing out the closing chorus and individual thanks the audience for their support during the last few months and to speak of their love for their bandmate.

The energy throughout the show remained high, regardless of the number being offered up by the 5-piece. Whether it were ballads like Have You Ever or encore hit, Never Had A Dream Come True where audience members helped light up the arena with their phone lights, or punchy dancefloor fillers like the bands full-throttle performance of Don’t Stop Movin’ – easily one of the nights best moments thanks to Bradley’s impressive lead and the way the song transformed the O2 arena into the capitals biggest discotheque – or fellow signature hit, Reach which saw each band members children being ushered on stage to close the song and steal a photo opportunity with the audience as its backdrop, the band kept the night in high spirits and made sure each and every member of the audience was engaged and dancing to the hits from start to finish.

While the band may not have been singing live at every moment of the show, and while a live band might have complimented the performance and taken it to a more instrumentally elevated level, Jo, Bradley, Rachel, Tina and Jon delivered a memorable, pop drenched night overflowing with nostalgic noughties classics to a packed O2 arena of fans that lapped up every second of the long overdue but incredibly enjoyable reunion.

Setlist:
S Club Party (Remix)
Love Ain’t Gonna Wait for You
You’re My Number One
Natural
Sunshine
You
Stronger
Bring the House Down
Friday Night (Partial)
Don’t Stop Movin’
Good Times
Bring It All
Two in a Million
These Are The Days
Have You Ever
Alive
Reach

Encore:
Never Had a Dream Come True
S Club Party (Remix/Reprise)

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