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Music Editorial

girls_aloud_10.jpg Girls Aloud: Ten: The Hits Tour

Girls Aloud kick-started their ‘Ten’ tour in Newcastle, opening to a crowd of girls ‘n’ gays who’ve waited nearly half a decade for this reunion.

Coupled with the small fact that this is the hometown of the group’s arguably most famous member, the girls received an unsurprisingly rapturous response, especially when Ms Cole told the audience: “It’s nice to be in a room filled with Geordies”, and the feeling was mutual as her every move, wave and vocal lead had the Cheryl Army going wild!

Ten-The Hits Tour really was just that; all of the hits performed consecutively, opening with Sound of the Underground, No Good Advice and so on. A particular highlight was their Victoria’s Secret-esque performance of The Show which saw the girls strutting up the catwalk-inspired stage donning angel wings and teeny outfits. As you’d expect, the production was extravagant and saw them flying to the centre on a floating platform and onto a secondary stage where they sang Untouchable, Call The Shots and new song On The Metro (which, unfortunately, they mimed horrendously). The set list included a surprise rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe (erm hello, we came to see Girls Aloud?!) which left the packed arena bemused, along with the mix of some well-choreographed numbers and some slow ballads, the latter being a great platform for Nicola Roberts to showcase her soulful voice during Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me. Of course, everyone is familiar with their rags-to-riches story, so it was surreal to be an arms distance away from the (frightfully slender) five women who dominate the British tabloids daily. 

Now a decade since their creation on Pop Stars: The Rivals, one has to wonder if the group’s vocal abilities would get them past the bootcamp round of today’s X Factor equivalent? Probably not. There’s no doubt the irreverent and sugary melodies produced by the Xenomania writing team are what’ve kept Girls Aloud from being relegated to the bargain bins they so easily could’ve done years ago.  However, today’s audience is more accustomed to the likes of Emeli Sande, Laura Marling and Adele; musical femme-fatales who focus more on powerful live performances and epic song writing than standing on a stage looking pretty while attempting to lip-sync as best as possible (The Saturday’s, I’m looking at you!).

‘All I want is something new, something I can hold on to’ is the opening line of their comeback single Something New, perhaps the meaning is twofold? The Girls Aloud brand is getting tired and, having attended the concert on two successive nights, it did feel like a giant, sterile and homogenised ‘Love Machine’ featuring identical crowd-banter, hair flicks and nothing in the way that made either show stand out from one another.

A harmless concert enjoyed by the band’s loyal fan base, but there’s no doubting their sell-by-date is imminent, making it all the more emotional for the group, especially near the end during Stand By You which had them in tears. Not to say they haven’t left a positive stamp on the pop landscape, and no one can deny their back-catalogue of top 20 hits forms an impressive music CV. Well done on the comeback girls, but maybe now it’s time to follow your own advice and try Something New?

Rosie Marsh

March 2013