It may have been roughly 10 years since the Spice Girls ruled the charts, but the Brit quintet proved they still have plenty of kick Sunday when they launched their comeback tour in Vancouver with a spectacular show crammed with hits and kitschy performances that played off their concocted personas and their fans' unabashed nostalgia.
The inaugural concert, some two hours long, came off more like a giant dance party, exploding in glittering confetti following a night of near-continuous screaming from a young, largely female audience, many of them dressed up like members ofthe famous quintet.
It was a triumphant return to the stage for Sporty, Scary, Baby, Ginger and Posh, who several times seemed stunned by the appreciative audience, who waved glow sticks and cameras, and remained on their feet for the entire show.
"You've treated our first time very, very, well," Ginger, a.k.a. Geri Halliwell, said in one of fewcomments to the audience in the highly scripted show.
"We love Vancouver!" Scary shouted to screams of delight from the crowd.
The show started with a trio of decade-old hits — Spice Up You're Life, Stop and Say You'll Be There — with many audience members jumping into the campy choreographed routines the girl band made famous in its music videos.
When they took to the multi-level stage with a crew of 10 male dancers, the Spice Girls sparkled in gold and bronze outfits by Italian designer Robert Cavalli, with Posh,a.k.a. Victoria Beckham, donning the shiniest fabric for a corseted number and Ginger baring the most flesh in a thigh-high mini.
Scary showed off her ample bosom in a low-cut animal print andSporty was typically athletic in a beige-coloured matte fabric, while Baby's mostly taupe-coloured dress flowed around an empire waist.
Later in the evening, Ginger donned a sequined version of her famous Union Jack dress.
Fans wondering whether Posh sings can rest assured that she does, sort of. She took the mike several times throughout the show to sing her few solo parts.
The loudest screams were reserved for Ginger's solo rendition of It's Raining Men, and the encore performance of the band's breakthrough hit, Wannabe.
Among the 15,000-plus audience members was Posh's famous husband David Beckham, who arrived hours before the show and gave each member of the group a special bracelet to mark their return.
A few jitters
Backstage before the show, the band said, they were excited and nervous about their big night.
"It is scary, going back into something where you're not sure how people are going to take you, and so, we just feel so lucky," said Baby, a.k.a. Emma Bunton.
"We really hoped we'd have a great response, but we have been completely overwhelmed," added Sporty, a.k.a. Melanie Chisholm. "It's been incredible. We're really, really grateful to all of our fans for that."
The Brit band hasn't toured together since 1999, and various members have since weathered a slew of tabloid scandal, weight battles and alleged spats.
Although Halliwell left the group in 1998, Chisholm dismissed the notion that there was any tension among the Spices.
"You know what, so much time has passed, so much water has gone under the bridge, it's just great to all be back together," said Chisholm.
The band has been in Vancouver since Friday, and some members said they had stolen a few moments to explore the city.
Wearing a cream-coloured sweater dress, Halliwell said she took her daughter Bluebell to Stanley Park on Sunday morning to see the snow, while Beckham said she had sampled some of the city's sushi.
"We all feel so lucky," Bunton said before the concert."We have been through amazing experiences. We looked at each other yesterday and went, guess what? We're the Spice Girls, you know what I mean? It's a fabulous thing and we love it."
The only other Canadian stop for the Spice Girls is in Toronto on Feb. 3 and 4.