For Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend did not buy me chocolates or flowers. He also didn’t take me out to dinner. He didn’t give me a giant teddy bear, or a mix tape, or any of the usual romantic Hallmark-y things. No, for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend drove me from Cincinnati to Chicago—for the Spice Girls concert. If enduring a whole weekend of Girl Power doesn’t demonstrate his love, I’m not sure what could. (Nevermind the fact that for Valentine’s Day, I made my boyfriend endure a whole weekend of Girl Power…)
In fairness, both of us agree that regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, or musical taste, those were two of the most entertaining hours you could imagine. The “Fab Five” designed a spectacular show that used their music to illustrate their professional and personal journey as a group. I must confess that I don’t remember much about their first tour in the 90s—except the heartbreak of Ginger Spice quitting just before they came to the States—but I am quite certain that I will never forget their Reunion.
It began with a slew of their biggest hits (“Spice Up Your Life,” “Stop,” and “Who Do U Think U Are” to name a few) as well as elaborate silver costumes designed by Roberto Cavalli. There were about seven video screens, twenty male dancers, and a whole lot of screaming fans. My voice had gone hoarse by the fourth or fifth song, but of course I had no intention of stopping.
For the rest of the night, Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty tore through elaborate themed sets and costumes: giant feathers and pink heart-shaped dressing room doors; red flamenco capes; dominatrix black leather, whips, and chains; and more. Each also performed solo, some electing to cover classic hits (like Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”) while others sang their own songs (like Melanie C’s “I Turn to You”). This is when much of the crowd went silent and I began to feel like a superior fan, because I knew all the words to their solo works and their third album, i.e., I stuck by them even after they’d faded in popularity.
Then Andy rolled his eyes and said, “Don’t be a stuck-up Spice fan. That’s worse than not being a fan at all.”
One of the most popular performances of the night was “Mama,” in which the Spice Children joined the Spice Girls on stage (with protective earphones the size of their heads). A video of the Spice Mothers played on the background screen, giving the audience three generations of Spice. Tasty!
The night ended with their first #1 hit, the one that brought Girl Power to the whole world: “Wannabe.” It’s never been my favorite song of theirs, but there’s something to be said for being the start of it all, and I think that’s why they chose to come full circle and end the night with it.
If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends.
So it may not have been a conventional Valentine’s Day, but by indulging me in this, Andy “got with my friends” Mel C, Mel B, Emma, Victoria, and Geri, and definitely made me zig-a-zig-ah.