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London Shepherd's Bush Empire

Thanks to [B]She'kspere[/B]'s tunes and [B]Destiny's[/B] huge talent, this group has become the most exciting American pop act for ages...

One month ago, it seemed the writing was on the wall for multi-platinum-selling R&B pop queens Destiny's Child. The Houston-based four-piece had topped the US charts for weeks on end with the infectious pop genius of 'Bills, Bills, Bills' and 'Bug A Boo'. Their second album had gone multi-platinum, new single 'Say My Name' was being played on radios the world over and an international tour was being planned when, all of a sudden, half the group walked out. LaToya and LaTavia had done one. Nice timing, girls.



Within the flash of an eye Destiny's were back from the brink, with founder members Beyonci Knowles and Kelly Rowland being joined by two new |berfoxes - Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams. The pair were trained up, military style, and dancing in the new video by the end of the week.



It's resounding proof that the snowballing Destiny's Child empire cannot be stopped, though after tonight's awesome showing, we don't really need it. There's no band onstage to entertain the excited, mostly adolescent crowd, just backing tapes, but we soon see why a group of session musicians would be surplus to requirements.



As the opening strains of 'So Good' blare through the PA we're met with the dazzling sight of our four heroines, a team of dancers and two semi-naked cowboys, painted Destiny's favourite colour - silver. Razor-sharp choreography frames 'So Good''s jerky dynamics perfectly, the song's fiercely proud-to-be-me sentiment perhaps more fitting now than ever before.



"This is for the haters that said we wouldn't make it/Now we're doing platinum/And now you can't take it", sings head Destiny Beyonci, the stage exploding in lights around her. It's a monumental entrance, enough to melt the hearts of the hardest anti- R&B lobbyist.



The hits come thick and fast, just like the costume changes. Silver leather, black leather and spangly red denim suits fit in between Destiny's futuristic Timbaland-tinged soul power anthems. We even get the Tim-produced corker 'Get On The Bus' as well as the bulk of the fantastic 'The Writing's On The Wall' album. Their second record was produced by fellow Houston resident She'kspere, who, along with Timbaland, Missy, Rodney Jerkins and The Neptunes is mainlining mad genius into the R&B genre. Together they're making Phil Spector-sized footprints on modern music.



Thanks to She'kspere's tunes and Destiny's huge talent, this group has become the most exciting American pop act for ages. Britney Spears is the new Debbie Gibson. Destiny's Child are the new Supremes. Get, as they say, 'on the bus'.

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