Review by Aidan Cuffe
The hype machine in over-drive, a TV show putting as much drama as possible on these five former superstar friends sharing the same room after ten years apart. The breakup of Steps split friends and left fans devastated. It wasn’t the fairytale rainbow pop ending they would have envisaged. The reunion tour gives them a chance to rewrite the ending, but would the show stand up to their reputation, ten years have passed and a Steps live show is an intense experience.
Opening in The O2, Dublin with Here And Now and You’ll Be Sorry we start to worry a bit. H’s vocals are weak and Claire looks disinterested, half heartedly performing the dance moves. I am rooting for the happy ending, but the start of this pop vehicle’s engine is stuttering. Deeper Shade Of Blue gets the fans to their feet but suffers from the same issues. Popping off stage for a costume change before returning on a raised hydraulic stage with a playful, “We’re Baaaack”, the band offer their first crowd interaction. The pace picks up as they reel off Last Thing On My Mind, Love’s Got A Hold Of My Heart and 5, 6, 7, 8.
It’s about now in the show that the engine stops stuttering and hit’s open road, pushing up through the gears, both musically and visually. A strange but intriguing mashup of Judas and Better The Devil You Know, ushers us into the solo segment of the show. Lee leads the charge with a blend of Moves Like Jagger and S&M. Faye gives us a Las Vegas headliner style performance of Dreamgirls One Night Only, starting in a giant prop shoe before slinking down into the arms of her buff male dancers, wearing pink short shorts and heels (the dancers, not Faye). H takes a handy crowd pleaser in the form of Don’t Stop Believing, with clever visuals matching his choreography as he bounces objects around in perfect time. Such is his effort, he splits his trousers, much to the crowds pleasure.
Lisa performs the rather odd choice of Chris Brown’s Beautiful People, visually it’s a disco of colour for the eyes. The highlight of the vocals for the night most assuredly comes from Claire’s performance of Celine Dion’s I Surrender. Visually given the X-Factor treatment with the big sparking falling fireworks, it’s the perfect combination and deserved the standing ovation she received.
The classy gospel choir intro and Victorian costumes for It’s The Way You Make Me Feel makes for an effective slip back into the group material, the band now seem comfortable, the vocals are strong. One For Sorrow and Stomp are wonderfully executed with the entire crowd on their feet following their fabulous five piece’s every dance move instruction. Chain Reaction greases the hips and Dancing Queen rounds off the show for a quick break. Returning for the encore many in attendance surely were practising the moves for before heading along tonight. Tragedy is a visual spectacle, both from the stage and the crowd who need little to no instruction.
No more songs were needed, it was a perfectly fitting epitaph considering how the band finished tragically ten years ago. However sometimes it’s from tragedy, that we find our life’s true purpose. In The O2, Dublin tonight Steps stuttered, steadied and stunned in parts. It’s an explosion of colour, energy and classic 90s pop. The show is nothing ground breaking, there is nothing particularly new here (though I have to tip the hat to the visuals), but the show is everything it should be. It’s highly visually entertaining, all the dance moves return and they tip all the hits. It perhaps leans a little heavy on cover songs for a band with such a big back catalogue of chart hits, but I doubt I’ll find a single Steps fan complaining.
Steps at The O2, Dublin Setlist
Here And Now
You’ll Be Sorry
Deeper Shade Of Blue
Last Thing On My Mind
Love’s Got A Hold Of My Heart
Summer of love
Judas / Better The Devil You Know
Moves Like Jagger / S&M (Lee)
One Night Only (Faye)
Don’t Stop Believing (H)
Beautiful People (Lisa)
I Surrender (Claire)
It’s The Way You Make Me Feel
When I Said Goodbye
One For Sorrow