On November 5th, 2018, I received five tags from friends on Facebook to notify me about a post by TMZ called “SPICE GIRLS REUNION TOUR FINALLY HAPPENING But without Posh!!!” The article stated that “the [Spiceworld 2019] tour will kick off June 1, 2019 in Manchester, and, for now, will work its way thru the UK only, ending in London 2 weeks later” (TMZ Staff). I was ecstatic. I knew I would be in England in time for their last show because of this course and it has been a dream of mine to see them live—even if Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) was not there because it is not like she ever sang to begin with.
Everyone who knows me knows of my affinity for The Spice Girls. I used to quote Spiceworld as a young schoolboy. In secondary school, a group of friends and I performed “Wannabe” in our high school cabaret as a tribute act (I was Sporty Spice, which was weird because I was the youngest and, therefore, should have been Baby). I saw Mel B (Scary Spice) as Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway and as she was leaving through the stage door, I screamed the lyrics to “Stop” to get her attention. In other words, I LOVE THE SPICE GIRLS.
I bought a ticket as retail therapy because who does not love to online shop? I emailed Jo, our professor for Destination Theatre, after I impulsively bought my ticket and said: “SOOO, the first day of class on the 15th and at night that is the last Spice Girls concert and I really want to go. Do you know if we are seeing a show that night and if I can potentially miss it?” (Lee Young). In other words, I was going to ditch class in order to do whatever it takes to get myself to Wembley Stadium on June 15th. Once I received Jo’s approval, I was overwhelmed with many emotions, which prompted me to consider how might my experience during the concert apply to Erin Hurley’s Theatre & Feeling, a text we studied during the winter term. Hurley defines mood as “a disposition or background state that orients us to certain kinds of emotional responses and reactions (Hurley 22-23). In other words, my love for The Spice Girls growing up contributed to my reaction of seeing them live. In this post, I want to explore two highlights for me personally during the concert and reflect on my mood during these moments to showcase how my reaction was due to my background and my disposition towards The Spice Girls.
The beginning of the concert, before The Spice Girls came on stage, was a recorded spoken word tribute to their fans where they stated that all are welcome, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, etc. This resounded profoundly with me afterwards. In the moment, I was not really focused on this message that was being delivered because I was more preoccupied with a mood of happy anticipation for when The Spice Girls came on stage with my sweaty hands, goose bumps, and impulse to scream my head off. Afterwards, I began reflecting and realized that growing up, there was this dogma that if you are a boy, then, you have to like boy things such as sports and distance yourself from things that are associated with femininity, like dolls for example. While The Spice Girls are feminine and are recognized as one of the first female groups with the “girl power” message (Taylor), it made me feel important to be recognized through the opening, as a member of a community and one that is accepted. In fact, before entering the arena, everyone received a wristband and during the concert, our wristbands glowed to the beat of the music. Everyone was unified in a sense because we all had these bands and it was beautiful because we all shined the same. In the past, I was made fun of for liking things that were feminine like The Spice Girls and it was heart-warming to see that The Spice Girls recognize that you do not have to be a female to be a fan.
I got emotional at one point near the end of the concert. The Spice Girls brought out their mothers and children and then sang their song, “Mama,” specifically the lyric, “Back then I didn’t know why/ Why you were misunderstood?” (The Spice Girls 0:38-0:49). It made me think of my mom who has always supported me even when I was a brat and have taken out my anger on her, when she has always my number one cheerleader. She never cared that I liked The Spice Girls or that I was into theatre, instead of sports or something more masculine. In fact, she used to drive me to each of my rehearsals and be at my shows, even when they were awful. She implored me to go to this concert and allowed me to come to England early and paid for my room, so I could stay for the concert. It hit me at that moment that I was away from home and that I missed my family. I even sent her that video and told her I missed her when that song was over because I was so emotional.
I hope you enjoy reading my post and below I have some pictures of me at the concert, the link to a video of me comically screaming the words to “Stop,” and the link to a video of the Spice Girls singing “Mama.”
Hurley, Erin. Theatre & Feeling. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Lee Young, Luke. Email message to Jo Devereux. 17 November, 2018.
Taylor, Alex. “Spice Girls: What Happened to Girl Power?” BBC News, BBC, 25 May 2019,www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-48381340.
The Spice Girls. “Mama.” Spice. Virgin, 1996, Track 6. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2wvFQasbV8
TMZ Staff. “Spice Girls Reunion Tour Finally Happening without Victoria Beckham.” TMZ, TMZ.com, 5 Nov. 2018, http://www.tmz.com/2018/11/05/spice-girls-reunion-tour-announcement-emma-bunton-radio/.