Tour Dates 101
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Spice World Concert Reviews

West Palm Beach, FL - Coral Sky Amphitheater
WEST PALM BEACH - Just when you thought all possible trivia questions had been exhausted, the opener of the group's first-ever North American tour at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre suggester one more.
If you make them perform near 100F heat under hot stage lights, which Spice Girl will sweat the most? The answer is Victoria - a.k.a. Posh Spice. Following a Star Wars-esque light show opening, the four weren't halfway through their opening number `If You Can't Dance' before Posh looked like she'd been dumped in nearby Lake Okeechobee.
By song two, `Who Do You Think You Are', we had an answer to the musical question: ``What do you suppose Posh looks like without makeup?'' Kind of rosy-cheeked and less hard, actually.
Certainly, the Spice Girls couldn't have arranged a hotter welcome to North America. South Florida is suffering through its hottest June in nearly 50 years, with draught conditions and temperatures in the mid-90s at the beach.
That didn't deter real Spice fans however. Hoping to be first in line for general admission area on the grass, young girls (and some boys) and their parents sat on blankets and chairs from 8 a.m. Sunscreen and Kool-Aid only go so far, and 12 hours later, some of them were suffering from heat stroke and being hauled away in ambulances.
Then, of course, there's the burning question everyone wants to know in advance of their July 11 Toront date. What do the Spice Girls sound like, now that Geri Halliwell -a.k.a. Ginger-has quit? At intermission, I heard kids complaining, ``They just don't sound the same.''
But let me paraphrase that recent detergent ad. ``I can't hear the difference. Can you hear the difference?'' As someone whose kid went through a phase of playing Spiceworld to death (he's into Aqua now), I feel qualified as anyone else about to turn 40 to say that the songs sounded as pleasant and light as they do on the record. Stop sounded like vintage dance-pop Madonna, `Spice Up Your Life' was Mimai Sound Machine-lite, `Too Much' sounded just as mildly moody as it did in the opening of the Spiceworld movie.
The speaks, of course, to just what polished and slick product you get with the imprematur Spice Girls. It's the reason there used to be rumors that the girls were a Milli Vanilli act. (Listening to Emma's weak solo on Where Did Our Love Go put the lie to this rumor.)
But in the wake of Ginger's departure, on thing did seem true. Reputed arch-enemy Melanie B does seem to be the de facto leader of the group. She got to scream things at the crowd of 20,000 like, ``Is there any Girl Power out there?'' and ``Are you ready to party?''
All that said there is one thing about the Spice Girls' show that was absolutely dumbfounding. These four women get in and out of their clothes faster than Madonna on a date.
There were three wardrobe changes in the first act alone - none of which took them longer than a minute and 12 second (I counted). One minute Posh is strutting in Spandex, Baby in lavender go-go attire, Scary in yellow and black bellbottoms and matching halter and Sporty's in bike gear.
(They were in these outfits when they called out The Spice Boys, dressalike dancers whom they rode horsey-style across the stage to `Do It'. No matter their orientation, guys just can't wear lavender minis well).
The next moment Baby is wearing a `Baby' tank top with black mini-dress, Sporty is all navy blue with a vest, Posh is psychedelic skin-tight mini and Scary is in some kind of tiget stripe zootsuit.
And the next, they're all in some kind of big-shouldered things that look like Bob Mackire spacesuits.
I think I speak for all men who've ever waited for women to get dressed when I say that this talent alone makes the Spice Girls role models without compare.
Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheatre
July 12, 1998 The event has happened and it's now officially over. Some said they wouldn't last long enought to get to this point, others say it's just the beginning.
The Spice Girls have now officially proven to the city of Toronto that they can play live, and with a band. No overdubs, no backing tapes, just pure and unadulterated Girl Power.
For a band criticized for over-commercialization, Saturday night at the Molson Amphitheatre was all about the music..mostly. The Spice Girls managed to wow and amaze the sold-out audience of 17,000 through 17 songs, a three song encore, and a half-hour intermission - added to squeeze in another impulse t-shirt purchase.
The biggest question for the tour was how the band would handle Geri's recent departure. The extra vocal parts were all handled perfectly by the remaining four. The video screens still showed the odd close up and the posters, t-shirts and tour book still all featured photos of Ginger. Take it for what it is, but it's nice to see the rest of the band felt they didn't have to rewrite history just because one member quit.
Musically, most of the material resembled the arrangements and mixed featured on the albums. The musicians would strike up instrumental verses or add percussion breaks occassionally, to cover the costume changes.
For `Say You'll Be There', the girls missed a great oppurtunity to break from `playing the album verison' syndrome. The mix they performed in Spice World: The Movie, under the watchful eye of Jools Holland, would have fit perfectly on their current tour.
Tempting the male members of the audience, at the beginning of `Naked', the band pondered the question: ``Do you think we should take our clothes off?'' To which another member yells, ``It's time for everyone to get naked.''
Unfortunately, at this point the video screen wasn't ladened with one of Ginger's numerous `artful photo shots'. The girls, instead, arranged themselves `naked', behind chairs and sang the whole song from that position at the top of the stage. The fact that their outfits weren't skin coloured only helped ruin the nudity illusion.
The audience participation took quite a while to work up.
During her solo rendition of `Where Did Our Love Go?', Baby - who dedicated the song to ``all the babies in the audience'' - managed to dance with a male member of the audience who looked either over-awed or over-embarrassed, depending on who you ask.
Just after the new song, the raggae sounding, `Walk Of Life' the group engaged in what could only be described as English pantomine - which, considering the target audience's age, is wholly understandable. First, there was the pre-requisite, `which side's louder', then the two Mels - Scary and Sporty - went missing, with Posh and Baby egging the audience on to find them. ``Where's Melanie? Is she over there?''
As Posh and Baby left the stage for a costume change, Mel and Mel eventually found their way back to the stage, and proceeded to blow the audience away with an excellent cover of the Aretha-Annie Lennox tune `Sisters (Are Doing It For Themselves', complete with guitar solo. It was one of the sole non-choreographed moments of the evening where the two Mels looked at ease.
This left the audience whooping, yelling, and finally up on their feet. The grils managed to main the momentum through the next number, `Spice Up Your Life', with introduction by Scary Spice: ``It's ten o'clock, that means it's time to get my horns on. It's also time to Spice Up Your Life.''
For some reason, after working so hard to get the audience `into it' they decided to slow things down and followed up with the ballad, `Mama'.
The encore consisted of the new single, `Viva Forever' which was voice-over introduced with a Blade Runner quote: The light that burns twice as strong lasts half as long, and you have burned so ver strong. `Never Give Up On The Good Times' followed and a rousing cover of Sister Sledge's `We Are Family'closed the night, with the Fab Four hugging and kissing each other.
One of the high points of the evening was the guy on the video screens performing sign language to all the songs. He provided constant amusement through the course of the evening, dancing and swinging and makind faces through the proceedings.
The Spice Girls have done it. They have entered the realm of legitimate band. However, the show felt like it was too slickly produced and at times seemed stiffly choreographed. Regardless, the inevitable live album and live video of the 1998 Spice Girls tour will no doubt sell bucket loads and will give those who missed the live show a change to see what it was all about.

Montreal, PQ - Molson Centre
July 11, 1998 ``Spice. The final frontier.''
The commandimg voice boomed across the vast Molson Centre as an image of galaxy projected itself upon what appeared to be a giant version of the Ten Commandments tablets. And the crowd, numbering 14,500 screamed the scream that only a massive gathering of 13-year-old girls can produce.
Then an image of a Spiceship (get it?) appeared, in a scene ripped out of the opening shot of Star Wars, sailing through the galaxy like a comet sent to destroy all life on this plant. And the screams got louder.
Then the voice said, ``They will boldly go where no woman has gone before.''
And the screams reached levels that tormented dogs across La Belle Province.
The tablet things finally pulled apart and, looking every bit like the four horsewomen of the apocalypse, the Spice Girls appeared. And my eardrums burst.
Dressed to the nines, in the first of a never ending stream of costumes, the girls immeadiately broke into If You Can't Dance, a fine, but forgettable dance number.
They follow up with hits like Stop, 2 Become 1, and a Baby Spice solo take on the Supreme's hit, Where Will Our Love Go. The singing and choreography were fine, but that was not the point.
The Spice Boy dancers, in matching outfits, were not the point. Even the sign language man, who occupied a small circle in the corner of the giant screens and in the between singing all the deep profound lyrics, he boogied down, was not the point.
The point was fun. After all, that's what the Spice Girls are about. It is something that cynical music reviewers, like myself, can't really grasp. It's not about the music and it never was. The Spice Girls have created a universe of fun that small girls and boys (and the occasional big ones) can enjoy, free of all worries simply by repeating mantras such as Girl Power and zig-a-zig-ah!
Throughout the day, the girls of Montreal recreated that universe on the streets of the city. Spice Girl sightings were rampant throughout the day, although most consistd of smaller verison of the Spice Bunch. Ten-year-olds with make-up painted onto their tiny faces dressed as their favourite Spice Girl - wearing khaki power suits, baby-doll dresses with pig-tails or Fila sports gear and fake arm tattoos with Crayola markers.
They lined up early to buy Spice paraphemalia like shirts, posters, $20 programs, necklaces, rings and lollipops. You name it and you could buy it. And people did.
``Only the Spice Girls could bring such an unnatural weather phenomenon,'' said Meagan Gagnon, 18, as a brief torrential downpour degenerated into hail.
Gagnon and her three friends (all from Ottawa and between 16 and 18 years of age) were a bundle of energy, still on an adrenaline high after almost meeting the Spice Girls. Tipped off by a security guard, they witnessed two Spices entering the Molson Centre thoguh the garage.
``I don't want to say this,'' said Gagnon, looking genuinely pained, ``but they're kinda bitchy. They din't even acknowledge our existence.'' Of course, she quickly dismissed any grudge by flatly stating: ``It was still really cool.''
Gagnon and company are on a quest. They call it the Ultimate Spice Girls Scoe (``contact is the name of the game'') and made sure to write in their Spice diary about how they made ``semi-contact'' yesterday afternoon.
The girls are pretty ambivalent about the recent departure of Ginger Spice.
``I think its going to be better now,'' said Victoria Dekergomeaux, 16, as she hoped around like she had recently ingested way too much sugar. ``Even though she was, like, 40, they'll be more mature now that she's gone.''
As the girls ignored me and argued among themselves the contradiction between ``Girl Power'' and the Spice Girls decidedly, um, skimpy mode of dress, the rest of the mingling crowd of two hundred or so fans began singing the song Stop as television cameras pointed their way.
Three 14-year-old girls from Montreal had better luck meeting their heroines. Domenica Torie, Jennifer Romeo, and Lisa Triestino discovered that the Spice Girls were staying at the Vogue hotel and saw Baby and Sporty, both of whom said hello and let them take photos.
The only thing that threatened to dim these girls' smiles was their lack of tickets.
``We're hoping to get them from scalpers for cheap, after the show starts.''
Another miniature Spice Girl, Ivana Faucher, 9, looked kind of dazed as the ever increasing crowds continued to gather. Faucher, who's father was in the process of buying tickets from a scalper, is on vacation from Nanaimo, BC. When asked why she likes the Spice Girls, Faucher timidly responded: ``Um, I like their music.''
She looked postively giddy at the possibility of seeing her favourite Spice, Baby. She confided that if she gets into the concert: ``It will be the best part of my holiday.''
But not all the members of the throng were female. Allen Pilon, 18, held aloft an enigmatic sign that read, ``Emma is my cure'' and had a photo of Baby Spice.
Pilon explained that he tried to give blood the other day and was refused for having a pulse rate that was too high. He claimed to have thought about Baby Spice for a few moments and when his pulse was checked again, it had slowed. Pilon was able to possibly save lives, thanks to the Spice Girls.
In the Spice Universe, Girl Power will heal all who pray at their altar.