“What time are they on?!” Some glitter-faced student dangled over the barrier and yelled at the security guy. He’d already answered this about seven times… but if we asked enough, maybe Brad and Jo would appear earlier. “Half 12,” walkie-talkie man shouted back. Nope: still another hour and a half. A long time to stand crushed against a barrier in a rapidly heating Lemmy. But hey: I’d waited 14 years for this. I could wait 90 minutes more.
Unfortunately, everyone else at the barrier seemed to be thinking the same thing. Looked like any chance of going for a wee before the show was long past. Tension built as a stream of official-looking people snuck in and out of the back door. Rumour had it Jo and Brad were in the Grove Diner doing meet and greets. Well, at least someone was getting an S Club Party tonight. Considering the event started three hours ago, we’d not had much of one yet…
Things were about to change, though. In a wave of VK-fuelled hysteria, someone had spotted two familiar figures sauntering out onto the Lemmy stage. Within seconds, they’d launched into that one we’d all been playing at pre-drinks tonight. The S Club Party had officially begun, guys.
And what a weird, hyped-up party it was.
There was an almost fetish-like interest in grabbing Brad’s hand – and he wasn’t doing anything to put people off, extending it into the front row every 30 seconds or so. You almost felt sorry for Jo… until she reached out and earned almost the same response. One might’ve been more generous with his limbs, but apparently we were just as eager to exchange sweat with either of these superhuman bodies.
In terms of the music… well. It was the same bubblegum party anthems we fell in love with in the early noughties. In fact, it all sounded suspiciously familiar. Almost like they were the exact same vocals we’d listened to earlier on our album copy. Apparently Jo’s been working on the “rubbish live vocal” she admitted to after the 2014 Children in Need reunion gig.
What was this: a show for the fans, or an ego boost?
If only there’d been a bit more singing, though. As the night drew on, Brad and Jo graced us with a maximum of seven or eight tracks – pretty stingy for a hall of fired-up freshers who’ve obviously stayed proudly loyal to the band ever since they disbanded back in 2003. It also felt a bit off to announce you’re playing some obscure ones to “test who knows the album tracks,” then scour the front row to see who’s singing along. What was this: a show for the fans, or an ego boost? We paid to see you, guys. Don’t try and make us feel bad.
To be honest, though… it’s hard to feel bad to a backdrop of ‘Reach,’ ‘Bring it all Back’ and ‘Don’t Stop Movin’’. Brad and Jo already had the recipe for success here – and they knew it, even if it’s not quite the Dream Come True to watch two of your childhood idols awkwardly grinding on each other.