As thousands of red and white feathers descended from the roof of Dublin’s O2 arena on Saturday night (March 16th), Girls Aloud belted out The Promise to a 14,000-strong encore. Nicola, Cheryl, Nadine, Kimberley and Sarah were in town for the Irish date of their Ten tour and as they gave it their all on stage, shimmering in figure-hugging Jessica Rabbit-style gowns, amidst the floating feathers and glitter was an obvious sense of nostalgia and sadness. It was probably one of the last times that these five women would be on stage as Girls Aloud again. Loathe me to say it, but the Ten tour, which was packed from start to finish with crowd-pleasing hits had all the hallmarks of a farewell concert.
Making their way to the stage by descending from the roof, the iconic chimes of Sound of the Underground kicked off proceedings and Nadine’s transatlantic brogue was out in all its fabulous form from the concert’s outset. Split into four acts, the girls revelled in the camp pageantry, as they donned embellished leotards, elaborate feathered headpieces and finally show-stopping ball gowns. The crowd erupted into hysteria and I felt like I was watching my destiny being played out on stage – caught somewhere between the ingenious self-interest of Nadine, the nonchalance of Sarah and the perfection of Cheryl.
The girls sang all their hits – Love Machine, Jump, Biology, Can’t Speak French, and Call the Shots to name but a few, and it wasn’t hard to see that they were having the time of their lives – particularly Nadine, who exaggerated every move and lyric to impeccable faultlessness. I couldn’t help but worship her.
As Cheryl and Co. held hands for the encore, a montage of the girls was projected onto a screen and they sang Stand by You. It was sublime, but it felt like this was them saying goodbye to the end of an era – they were looking back on the last ten years with fondness, but these girls are now women and it’s time to spread those deliciously-OTT pink wings. It was emotional to say the least.
Whatever happens to Girls Aloud after their Ten tour, they have immortalised themselves in musical history. I’m totally unbiased and this is a wholly objective review. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe that Nadine was born on the 15/6/85, making her a Gemini).