|Tour by Spice Girls|
Tour programme cover
|Start date||24 February 1998|
|End date||20 September 1998|
|No. of shows||56 in Europe
41 in North America
|Spice Girls concert chronology|
The Spiceworld Tour (also known as Spice Girls in Concert and the Girl Power Tour '98) was the debut concert tour by the British girl group the Spice Girls. It was launched in support of their second studio album Spiceworld (1997). The American part, grossed $60 million in 40 date sold-out.
In early 1998, the Spice Girls embarked upon the world tour that Fuller had set up for them covering Europe and North America. The tour was the first global tour staged by the group, and proved to be an almost instant sell-out. Tickets for the first two shows in Ireland sold out within 2 hours, while the show in New York's Madison Square Garden sold out within 12 minutes.
The tour kicked off in Dublin, Ireland on 24 February 1998 before moving on to mainland Europe and then returning to Britain for eight gigs at Wembley Arena and six gigs at Birmingham's NEC Arena. The full show in Birmingham was recorded for a live album, which was confirmed by the group: "We've shown everyone we can do the business on stage, so now we want to do a live album for fans". The full audio was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1, and was being mastered for an official release.
On 31 May 1998, Geri Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor (i.e. attorney) she stated: "Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best." Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take a break. Halliwell's departure from the group shocked fans, in the middle of rumours of a power struggle with Mel B, the news of Halliwell's departure was covered as a major news story by media around the world, it made the covers of the most important tabloid and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year, making news headlines the world over. Geri went on to launch an initially successful solo career. The four remaining members were adamant that the group would carry on and that their approaching North American tour would continue as normal, however, Halliwell's departure threw most of the group's plans into disarray, including the live album that had already been mastered. Throughout the American leg of the tour, commercials were played on large concert screens before the shows and during intermissions. It was the first time advertising had been used in pop concerts and was met with mixed reactions in the music industry. By opening up a whole new source of revenue, industry experts predicted more acts would follow the Spice Girls' lead.
The Spice Girls finally wrapped up the tour by performing to 150,000 fans over two gigs at Wembley Stadium in September 1998. The full show was broadcast live on Sky One and presented by Dani Behr and Georgie Stait. A video release of the groups performance during Wembley Stadium titled; Live at Wembley Stadium, was released on 24 November 1998.
Against a space-age themed backdrop, the show begins with a CGI video introduction of a spaceship flying through the galaxy. The introduction includes William Shatner as the narrator in a parody of his famous Star Trek title sequence speech. And includes samples from "Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1" and "Mama". The spaceship is shown to land on earth and as its doors appear to open so does the door at the back of the stage to reveal The Spice Girls. Act One has a general futuristic / Spiceworld theme. The costumes worn by the girls reflect this theme. When they enter the stage they sing "If U Can't Dance". They then perform "Who Do You Think You Are" which includes an introduction sample from Club 69's "Diva" and RuPaul's "Supermodel (You Better Work)". During the European leg the third song was "Do It" while in North America it was changed to "Step To Me", however during both songs the girls were accompanied by the tour dancers. The dancers were often referred to as "The Spice Boys".
After the end of set one, The girls perform "Denying" and "Too Much". In this performance, Geri plays the role of a waitress. Mel B plays the role of a gambler. Victoria plays the role of a dancer. Emma plays the role of a gangster's girlfriend while Mel C plays the role of a club owner. The girls sing "Too Much" sitting down on chairs. In Act Three, The girls perform "Stop". Kenny Ho their Costume designer, wanted to give the girls a '60s theme to the clothing to fit the song. Geri's costume was inspired by Madonna's 'Holiday' section from her 'Blonde Ambition' World Tour. After "Stop", Emma Bunton sings a solo rendition "Where Did Our Love Go?" by The Supremes. Bunton had stated that "I've always been a fan of Diana Ross, that song is perfect for me, it's just the right pitch. I wouldn't want to do a song I found hard to sing."
In the performance of "Move Over" the girls portray supermodels on a runway, dressed in outrageous, outlandish clothes. The dancers dressed in black play the role of photographers. Originally, they were going to have Victoria in a chainmail, Versace dress, with linked gold squares. But it was too heavy, and too impractical for maintenance. After the performance of "Move Over" there was a thirty-minute intermission. The second segment begins with "The Lady Is A Vamp". Their costume designer did this by giving them canes, tailcoat shape costumes, and giving the dancers bowler hats. Bunton dislikes the shoes worn in this section because of the fear of falling in them while Halliwell dislikes her dress worn in this because the strings on her dress were constantly getting caught on her cane.
For the performance of "Naked" the girls sing from behind chairs, giving the illusion they're naked. The girls sing "2 become 1" wearing velvet catsuits. Kenny Ho, their costume designer, wanted something luxurious, but not too over the top. Velvet was perfect, and it matched the song's feel, which was quiet and atmospheric. After "2 Become 1", they perform "Walk of Life". In set eight, Mel B & Melanie C cover "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves", which was originally sung by Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin. They then sing "Wannabe", "Spice Up Your Life" and "Mama".
In this performance of "Viva Forever" all five girls are dressed in white clothing. Kenny Ho wanted to reflect the sense of purity and spirituality to fit the song. They were originally going to put dry ice on the stage, but the idea was dropped because it would have made the stage slippery, and dangerous, and very hard to dance on. To end the show Halliwell recommended a '70s theme. Kenny used this and all five girls had a color scheme arranged by Kenny to fit their style and character. Brown had a lot of patches of Animal prints and greens while Halliwell's tones were different reds and purples. Bunton's were almost entirely bright red, pale blues and pink. Chishom had very bright colors and Adams had patchwork on her corset. During the encore of the show they sing "Never Give Up On The Good Times" and a cover of Sister Sledge's song "We Are Family". The Spice Girls exit the stage via the same doors upon which they entered on top of the staircase.
The following setlist was obtained from the 11 July 1998 performance at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto, Canada. It does not represent all concerts during the tour.
- "Video Sequence" (contains elements of "Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1" and "Mama")
- "If U Can't Dance"
- "Who Do You Think You Are" (contains elements of "Diva" and "Supermodel")
- "Do It"
- "Too Much"
- "Video Sequence"
- "Where Did Our Love Go?" (Emma Bunton solo)
- "Dance Sequence"
- "Move Over"
- "The Lady Is a Vamp"
- "Say You'll Be There"
- "Video Sequence"
- "Naked" (contains excerpts from the film Batman Forever)
- "2 Become 1"
- "Walk of Life"
- "Video Sequence"
- "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" (Mel B & Melanie C duet)
- "Spice Up Your Life"
- "Viva Forever" (contains excerpts from the film Blade Runner)
- "Never Give Up on the Good Times"
- "We Are Family"
- "Who Do You Think You Are" contained a sound bite from the song "Diva" by Club 69 & "Supermodel (You Better Work)". In the beginning of the song the lyrics "You have to work to get this good" could be heard.
- "Naked" sampled two sound bits from the film Batman Forever. In the beginning of the song dialogue from the motion picture was included: "Relax. Tell me your dreams, tell me your fantasies, tell me your secrets, tell me your deepest, darkest, fears." In the middle 8 of the song, the Riddler's growls were heard.
- "Viva Forever" sampled a sound bite from the film Blade Runner. In the beginning of the song the famous words "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly" spoken by Dr. Eldon Tyrell are heard. This inspired a similar, revamped sound bite that was used during "Who Do You Think You Are" on the Return of the Spice Girls. This sound bite consisted of a deep, male, American-accented voice saying "The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you, my friend, have burned the brightest".
- The original "London town" lyric in "Walk of Life" was replaced by the name of the city the girls were performing in. The lyrics varied depending on the pronunciation of the city name, for example "Birmingham", "Antwerp Town", or "Boston City".
- During the European leg of the tour, "Move Over" featured some rather interesting lyrical changes. Instead of the usual "dedication, babynation etc...", the girls would alternate the lyrics with "penetration, menstruation, lubrication and masturbation" on various nights in the predominantly non-English speaking countries.
- Starting in Noblesville on July 24, "Step to Me" replaced "Do It", and "Walk of Life" was removed from the setlist. Both of these changes were due to several dancers' injuries, as well as the (unannounced at the time) pregnancies of Mel B and Victoria Beckham, who were picked up and carried around in various positions during "Walk of Life."
- After Geri Halliwell's departure, a pre-recorded backing track of Geri's vocals were used during the Spanish Rap in "If U Can't Dance" and the remaining girls sang her original "Ginger" lyric in "The Lady Is A Vamp".
- As presented on Sky Box Office Live, there was no 30 minute intermission during the "Back in Britain" leg of the tour, and additional songs were added to the setlist. "Something Kinda Funny" replaced "Denying", and "Step to Me" was dropped. "Do It" was added to the setlist, but was performed in Act 2 instead of its original spot in Act 1. "Something Kinda Funny", "Do It", and "Too Much" were retooled into their own act with a new set of outfits, replacing the restaurant act. "Love Thing" replaced "Move Over" as a one-song act, with a dancer intro and another new set of outfits.
- In 2007-08, a series of previously unseen videoscreen recordings from the European leg of the tour were leaked, including concerts in Madrid, Lyon, Paris and Arnhem. Complete footage of the tour with all 5 group members had been previously unseen.
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