East 17 in the iconic furry hoods, a Boyzone/Westlife hybrid, S Club 7 come out as 3 and drunken sounds of Venga Bus echoing in Nottingham night.
Yep, the Stepback Concert was back in town! A few weeks ago we partied to the sounds of the 80's, this time we jumped forward a decade (or so) to relive 90's disco pop.
Although a long concert at three and half hours, it seemed slicker than the 80's set up, though that is also an indicator of the times. The 80's performers had used a backing band, the 90's performers mostly using backing tracks. Less of a live concert experience but it meant there was no momentum lost between acts whilst the band set up as there was at the 80's gig, neither was there a break, so it was non-stop from the the very start.
The audience was a real mix. On the way in there was a stand doing glitter face paints, there were also middle aged couples and older folk. I took my Mum because she likes Peter Andre. All she wanted was that cheeky grin, six pack, Mysterious Girl and a tray of chips. What she got was Peter Andre in full music mode - we got to Mysterious Girl via covers of Mark Morrison, R Kelly and Bob Marley, which, to be fair she enjoyed. I'm not sure what she made of Big Brovaz and Booty Luv though.
Peter Andre said he normally performed last but had swapped for the night and the following night, maybe it was for the benefit of his older fan base so they could leave when it got 'a bit loud', maybe it was because the Venga Boys had the honour of preforming live tonight, or maybe he fancied an early night himself, as we were catching the Venga bus over three hours later, he'd probably had chance to get home, have his tea and be tucked up in bed!
Depending on your age, the evening waivered between great and hit and miss. Second act of the night was East 17. Now a threesome, they look a bit like some Dads on the way home from the football, having a bit of a laugh. You get the feeling they've been doing a lot of revival type shows, possibly Butlins, encouraging the crowd to do oggy oggy oggy, as they split the room into 3 for a competition. That said, they still looked 'and' and delivered the hits - House of Love, It's Alright and Deep. They left the stage before returning ('Fought we'd forgot dint ya) to do, what has become a Christmas classic, Stay, complete with furry hoods.
Next up it's hip hop garage group, Blazin' Squad, who were actually big in.....2002, oh well, not a group I was a fan off but the crowd seemed to enjoy their five numbers.
Big Brovaz and Booty Luv, made up of Big Brovaz members Cherise and Nadia, again weren't actually 90's. Both hitting the scene in the noughties, but the audience weren't complaining as they danced along to their five set stint. Mum said her heart was pounding with loud music, I think it was a flutter again when the next act came on, Boyzlife.
I hadn't even realised it was Westlife's Brian McFadden under the hat. I wasn't expecting great things but with their cheeky banter they bounced off each other as well as singing some classics, Picture of You, World of our Own. The audience screamed as Keith Duffy, the other half of the act, announced that for one night only, joining them on stage was his old band mate, Ronan Keeting, only for McFadden to return doing his best impersonation of that Ronan drool for Words.
It was quite sad to see the next group run out as a threesome, in fact there was a little bit of a chuckle around us when S Club party 3 was lit up. There used to be 7. Thankfully Jo was always the one with the lungs and Bradley sang a fair bit two, which just left Tina looking looking sightly awkward. Shame really because the songs were really catchy. Still, we enjoyed it. S Club Party, Bring It All Back. Big Brovas and Booty Love joined them on stage to bring the number back up to seven. The observant among us will have noticed that Bradley also seemed to be wearing one of East 17's jackets.
We had a full set of Bewitched girls complete with the denim and sparkles. Time may have passed but those girls can still Riverdance
5ive are up next - but they're three! I miss J, the set misses J, but they prove popular with the audience. Not surprising as they sold more than 10 million records during their four year career, with that, they had plenty to choose from; Got The Feelin, Keep on Movin', Everybody Get Up, the hits kept coming, including their cover of We Will Rock You.
Closing proceedings were The Venga Boys. After an apprehensive silence and empty stage, the Dutch Eurodance group ended the night as only could with Boom Boom, We're Going to Ibiza, Shalalala, Up and Down and of course Vengabus, which could still be heard being sung on the Nottingham streets as the crowd poured out to make their way home.
The screen to the rear of the stage showed clips of the original music videos throughout the evening which was great yo see, I don't know about the acts, but it certainly made me feel old.
Overall though, a fun night of 90's (ish) nostalgia.
Love T xx
Photos by Martin Dunning
Disclaimer: My tickets were complimentry but my views are my own.