Spice Girls at the TD Banknorth Garden, January 30, 2008
The women’s restrooms at the TD Banknorth Garden last Wednesday night sounded like a high-school bathroom during a school dance.
“Your outfit is amaaaaazing,” one girl screeched. “How old are you?”
“Twenty. Everyone here is 20,” someone replied. “Who else cares about the Spice Girls?”
“I told you!” the first one said. “I told you everyone here would be 20!”
It’s true: tweenagers in 1998 didn’t have Hannah Montana or High School Musical. We did, however, have five British ladies who sold us on Girl Power, a mass-marketed message that the Spice Girls have briefly and skillfully resurrected from the downward spiral of their girl-group careers. At the opening US reunion tour show, the quintet rolled out the prime lumps of Top 40 sugar piecemeal with “Spice Up Your Life,” “Say You’ll Be There,” “Let Love Lead the Way,” “Holler,” and “Wannabe.” Over the course of nearly two hours, they bopped more than they danced, squeezed into various jaw-dropping Roberto Cavalli threads designed as a nod to the personality of their old Spicey pseudonyms, and giggled together on stage between numbers in semi-unscripted gossip fests. “I just love Boston! There are some great shops here,” a wooden Victoria Beckham gushed. (I think I saw her actually smile at one point — it looked as if something were cutting her face.) “Oh, yeah, I found a great sex shop in Boston,” Melanie Brown cackled.
It was the kind of spectacle that needed to be saturated in color for the visuals to match the lowbrow pleasures of the audio: bejeweled skin-tight leggings, ridiculous Spice Boy dancer costumes, and gigantic sparkles that shot out of an unseen cannon. Melanie Chisholm sang her Sporty club-kid heart out during “I Turn to You,” Geri “Ginger” Halliwell turned on the camp for “It’s Raining Men,” Scary Brown pulled a man out of the audience and punished him with a glitter-encrusted whip, and Beckham, of course, did what she always does best: a forced-fierce runway strut to Madonna, the Spice Boys trailing her like faux paparazzi. They said goodbye after their microphones were turned off, almost a minute too early. But the sparkles were still falling, and nobody else seemed to care.
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