Girls Aloud – Nottingham Trent FM Arena, Tuesday May 20.
Budding pop stars, please take note: if you’re going to take on the demands of a full-scale arena tour, then last night’s Girls Aloud show was an object lesson in how to do things properly.
Lesson One: Don’t stint on the Wow Factor. The girls started their set suspended on high wires, black capes flapping in the breeze, before slowly descending into the arms of their hunky male dancers. (Note: if you must make economies, then it’s quite OK to deprive your dancers of their shirts for most of the night.)
Later on, a massive illuminated catwalk dropped from the ceiling, stretching all the way to a platform at the back end of the arena. The girls sashayed across it, crooning and waving all the while, before greeting the folks in the “cheap seats” to wild acclaim, and giving them a three-song performance.
Lesson Two: Don’t cut corners. Many acts have a revolving stage. Girls Aloud’s stage revolved in two directions at once, allowing for some clever choreography. Most acts let off a couple of fireworks towards the end of the show. Girls Aloud’s crew blasted us with pyrotechnics throughout, as well as firing off enough ticker tape to keep the Arena’s cleaning staff busy for days.
Lesson Three: Don’t play it too safe. It takes nerve to drop sure-fire favourites such as No Good Advice, Long Hot Summer and The Show, in favour of album tracks such as Girl Overboard, the pounding crowd-pleaser Close To Love, and the slinky, ska-tinged Control Of The Knife (as mashed up with Kelis’s Trick Me). And it’s a brave act indeed who can take on Robyn’s brilliant but challenging With Every Heartbeat, and make it their own.
Lesson Four: Don’t forget to have fun. In stark contrast to last year’s sulky showing by the Sugababes, the five girls genuinely looked as if they were enjoying themselves. Self-confessed party girl Sarah larged it from beginning to end, while even sulky old Nicola was wreathed in smiles throughout. And while the Sugababes treated each other like strangers, Girls Aloud bonded like a gang of best mates.
Lesson Five: Don’t mime! OK, so Nadine slipped out of key a couple of times. But who knew that Nicola had such a great, gutsy voice?
Lesson Six: Don’t act too cool for school. During the encore of Something Kinda Ooooh, middle-aged mums bopped in the aisles, while the gays squealed and the pre-teens waved their glow-sticks. (My ten year old niece’s verdict: “fantabulous”.)
Lesson Seven: Don’t take us for granted. There’s a reason why Girls Aloud have stayed at the top of their game for over five years, with eighteen consecutive Top Ten singles to their name. It’s because they deliver the goods, to the best of their ability, time after time. Long may they continue to delight us.
Sexy! No No No…
Sound Of The Underground
Close To Love
Can’t Speak French
Whole Lotta History
With Every Heartbeat
I’ll Stand By You
Wake Me Up
Walk This Way
Control Of The Knife/Trick Me
Call The Shots
Something Kinda Ooooh