For Sugababes, the festival season has begun but as they arrived at Merseyside’s Aintree Racecourse they were celebrating a different season - of healing and growth.
It’s now 25 years since three 13-year-olds were signed by All Saints’ management. Since then there have been dramatic ups and downs, three lineups, toxic arguments, but also indisputable success.
Now, a quarter of a century later, the original trio are back together and sharing their unique vocal sound, gentle fighting talk and feminist lyrics with a new generation of fans who need a pep talk. Difference is their USP.
The atmosphere at Aintree Racecourse’s outdoor venue was electric, the crowd well oiled and well dressed from a sunny evening taking a punt on the horses and this was Merseyside - a community not known for its quiet and shy persona - so they were in full voice.
Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy were given a euphoric reception, bar a few tongue in cheek calls of ‘Where’s Heidi?’. Heidi Range was a previous band member and the only Scouser in the changing lineup.
They launched into the evening with hit after hit, I’d forgotten quite how many hits (as a girl band second only to the Spice Girls) they’d had, also covering Sweet Female’s Attitudes ‘Flowers’ to a rapturous reception.
A combination of their nineties carefree choreography, personal style and nailed on vocal harmonies - plus a little heartfelt emotional chat - won the crowd around quickly.
The fans were in fine voice also, singing along to Round Round, Too Lost In You (of Love, Actually soundtrack fame) , Stronger, Freak like me and About you know - it was as if the last few decades never happened, though it helps that combat trousers are back in fashion again. So, it seems, are the Sugababes and we are delighted to have them back.