90s kids will dance through the tears.
To Auckland, New Zealand, as we step in time machine to relive the decade that gave us the sunny, good time pop of S Club 7, Liberty X, Atomic Kitten and B*Witched. These beloved British groups flew over for a nostalgic bonanza at the city’s ASB Theatre, as part of an ongoing retro tour, but it seems some of their showbiz magic didn’t quite make it through customs.
The event was a bit of a shambles, all told, though the groups had a right good go at giving the audience what they wanted. Here’s what happens when your 90s faves take off for what is essentially a roaming freshers’ ball halfway across the world, rallying against illness, absentee members and the ravages of time.
Liberty X flew 11,000 miles to perform two songs
And one of them was a cover. The band played their 2005 pop banger ‘Just A Little’, barrelled into their version of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s 1983 hit ‘Ain’t Nobody’ (released as ‘Being Nobody’ in 2005) and then – when the audience was all hyped up and thirsty for more 90s fizz – bowed out. The five-piece was reduced to a three for the show, with only Michelle Heaton, Kelli Young and Jessica Taylor in attendance. According to reports, Michelle seemed really happy to be there, exclaiming, “Can You Believe It! We’re In New Zealand!” Not quite excited enough for a third song with two of Liberty X, mind.
An illness-blighted S Club two did the work of seven people
S Club 7 is no more. It’s S Club 3 nowadays, with the band slimmed down to Jo, Bradley and Tina. Due to illness, though, Jo was unable to make the show at the last minute, so Bradley and Tina took to the stage, singing their parts and allowing a backing track to fill in the rest. One reviewer noted: “When they brought an audience member up onstage to sing some of a song, it felt less like a planned moment and more like they’re recruiting for the rest of their tour”. On an unrelated note, recruiters in Alaska are looking for people to blow cold air onto the melting icecaps.
A Frankenstein’s Atomic Kitten played the hits
Founding member Liz Mclarnon’s fear of flying prevented her from joining this 90s summit, so Michelle Heaton from Liberty X filled in for her. If this show was a sinking ship, Heaton was the solemn captain gallantly going down with it. Having left Atomic Kitten back in 2001, Kerry Katona has now returned again, with a post-Celebrity Big Brother Natasha Hamilton rounding off the trio. They performed the hits, including ‘Eternal Flame’, ‘The Tide Is High’ and everyone’s favourite, ‘Whole Again’. The show went on, as it must, and the band just about landed on their feet.
B*Witched smashed it though
The Dublin group said “C’est la Vie” and gave it their all. Sam Brooks of The Spinoff praised “their aw-shucks charisma” and noted that “these are three friends who genuinely seem to like performing the songs that made them briefly famous in their teens; they also seem to like performing together”. No, it doesn’t sound the ‘90s revival night at ASB Theatre in Auckland was the most polished evening’s entertainment, but it sounds like everyone had a right bloody laugh, which is better anyway, right?