London Wembley Arena

It was [a]Steps[/a] who stank, rather than their audience...

A series of athletic but totally interchangeable wannabe acts like [a]Buffalo G[/a] and [a]Atomic Kitten[/a] precede the main attraction, and most of them suck utterly.

Not so the awesome [a]Daphne & Celeste[/a]. They stomp on stage in cheerleader outfits and proceed to whip the crowd into a frenzy with their punk-bubblegum hit ‘Ooh Stick You’, followed by a storming rendition of their new single ‘U.G.L.Y’, which has the entire audience on their feet and screaming. The two American superstars then finish with a ballsy cover of Alice Cooper‘s proto-punk heavy metal classic ‘School’s Out’.

Then it is time to greet Steps, stadium-hoggers of gargantuan proportions, who in 1999 played to quarter of a million kids and became one of Britain’s top five-selling album artists.

H descends from the skies on a giant letter H and proceeds to fly around Wembley Arena on wires like Peter Pan.

And that’s about as exciting as it gets.

If you’re not 12 and rendered excitable by a surfeit of sugary drinks, junk food and mass hysteria, it’s pretty boring. The only moment of controversy comes when the giant video screen plays a parody of a scene from the film ‘There’s Something About Mary’ in which Faye removes a dollop of “semen” from Lee‘s ear and rubs it into her hair.

Steps dutifully perform a succession of Abba-lite hits like ‘Deeper Shade of Blue’, ‘5678’ and ‘After The Love Has Gone’, and showcase several nondescript new songs.

The biggest cheer of the evening, however, greets the appearance of Manchester United footballer and Spice husband David Beckham when he appears on the video screen in an advert for Sky TV.

As the well-pleased crowd of teenyboppers and their patiently smiling parents leave Wembley Arena they have to run a gauntlet of puffa-jacketed PR people handing out leaflets (about up and coming pop acts) and free cans of Sure deodorant. This hack’s verdict was that it was Steps who stank, rather than the audience, while [a]Daphne & Celeste[/a] once again proved that they are the best thing to happen to popular music since the Spice Girls.