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Review: THE SATURDAYS – ALL FIRED UP at Wembley Arena

THE SATURDAYS: ALL FIRED UP
Wembley Arena

As a glittering cage containing Frankie Sandford, Rochelle Wiseman, Vanessa White, Una Healy and Mollie King descends, a huge roar goes up across Wembley Arena on this, The Saturdays’ third headliner, but first arena, tour. Wearing white blouses, black skirts and spectacles, reminiscent of the Notorious music video, our expectations are high and, for the most part, the quintet don’t disappoint.

A good mix of songs, taken from their four albums, provide a catchy soundtrack to a visual delight. The girls, wearing a dazzling array of skimpy sparkles and killer heels, perform their often saucy choreography with ease, with even the 6 months pregnant Una only sitting out one song. The lighting design on this show is fantastic, and the sound mix superb; the screen projections are used well and the stage is set with just enough moving parts to keep it interesting without being overcomplicated.

The vocals are strong with nice tight harmonies. I mistakenly assumed this would be 90% pre-recorded, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear the girls singing live. Vanessa is particularly strong vocally, although I found my eyes following another band member most of the time. Frankie has always captivated me. From her 11/12 year old days in S Club Juniors (later S Club 8) right up to the present, she has always held that je ne sais quoi that defines a star. But each of the girls had their chance to shine tonight, and shine they all did.

During the first costume change (if we don’t count the secretary outfits being ripped off after the second number), we are introduced to the five male dancers, with each one showing off his talent as the screen shows their name. These are another visual treat, performing their excellently choreographed routines flawlessly and attracting plenty of excitement from the mainly teenage-girl crowd. As a random point of interest, I noticed one of them was Aaron Renfree, who was also a member of S Club Juniors with Frankie and Rochelle.

Christmas came early for much of the Wembley audience in the quite theatrical finale, with the dancers arranging Christmas gifts on stage wearing just Santa hats and trousers, and displaying an almost impossible amount of muscle, while the screen shows images of the girls as children at Christmas. Bursting out of the five largest boxes, dressed as five of the sexiest Santas I have ever seen, The Saturdays then perform a jazzy Winter Wonderland, with their impressive vocals shining through once again.

However, despite all this, there is something missing somewhere. I just didn’t feel wowed by the evening, and couldn’t help feeling that, even with several chart toppers under their belt, the girls still seem a bit.. well.. amateurish.

The girl group bar was set ridiculously high by the Spice Girls and then nudged up a notch by Girls Aloud. The Saturdays have still got some climbing to do before they reach it, but they’re giving it a good shot, and this evening was enough that I now definitely want to be there when they do reach it, because the potential is there for them to push it to a whole new level.

SETLIST

(Costume: Office Secretary dresses)
1. Notorious
2. Work
(Costume: Red, Black, Pink Coloured Leotards) 
3. Get Ready Get Set
4. Forever Is Over
5. Wish I Didn't Know
(Costume: Multi Coloured Dresses With Hoods) 
6. Faster
7. Ego
8. Do What You Want With Me
9. The Way You Watch Me
10. Issues
11. Just Can't Get Enough
(Costume: Silver Dresses)
12. Up (Wideboys Edit)
13. If This Is Love / Moves Like Jagger
14. For Myself
15. Last Call
16. Missing You
17. Promise Me
18. All Fired Up
(Costume: Santa Overcoats) 
19. Winter Wonderland
20. My Heart Takes Over
(Costume: Shorts, White Tops)
21. Higher

THE SATURDAYS have now completed their ALL FIRED UP tour, but keep an eye on www.thesaturdays.co.uk for upcoming announcements regarding future dates.

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