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Tuesday 18 June 2019

Girl Power - Electric atmosphere in Croker as Spice Girls return to Dublin

24/5/2019 L-R: Sarah Jane Brennan, Nicole Cannon, Niamh O Donnell, Stacey Cahill and Deborah Hoey all from Allenwood, Co. Kildare pictured outside Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
24/5/2019 L-R: Sarah Jane Brennan, Nicole Cannon, Niamh O Donnell, Stacey Cahill and Deborah Hoey all from Allenwood, Co. Kildare pictured outside Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
24/5/2019 L-R: Jennifer Breen, Mairead Fitzpatrick, Debbie Byrne and Lisa Bergin all from Gorey Co. Wexford pictured at Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
24/5/2019 L-R:Lena Aeichele from Vancouver, Canada pictured with her Spice Girls memorabilia near Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
24/5/2019 L-R: Joe Velasco and Katie Sunderhauf from Jersey, New York, USA pictured taking near Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
24/5/2019 L-R: Olivia and Sarah Belle from Glasnevin, Dublin pictured at Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
Ciara Gorman and her daughter Bonnie Mai Gilsenan, 8, and Cara Gorman and her daughter Melody Ryan, 8, all from Mullingar were at the Spice Girls in Croke Park last night. Photo: Tony Gavin 24/5/2019
24/5/2019 L-R: Sergio Gutierrez and Adolf Canizales both from Barcelona, Spain pictured at Croke Park last night ahead of the SPICE girls concert.Pic: Collins
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Fans travelled from across the world for a slice of pop memorabilia as the Spice Girls painted Dublin pink and reminded all girls, young and old, that girl power is alive and kicking.

The atmosphere at Croke Park was electric as Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice, stepped on stage, head to toe in glamour alongside, Mel B, Mel C and Emma Button aka Baby Spice.

The first song 'Spice Up Your Life' saw the foursome appear on the stage on a lift from the floor below.

The four women, standing on a C-shaped stage leading out into the crowd, looked incredible in glitzy outfits.

They seemed to defy age and as they danced it was evident all were still very fit. Geri wearing a long blue and red regal dress topped off with a diamond tiara, Mel B in a gold, glittery leopard print catsuit, Mel C in a blue shimmering deep blue two piece suit and Baby Spice in a pretty shocking pink long dress and chiffon cape.

Each performer danced with their own troupe of dancers, dressed similarly to them.

Emma Button told the crowd "You all look fabulous.

"Welcome to the Spice Girls, whether you're spice girls or spice boys, everyone of you is welcome tonight."

Coloured glitter fell from the sky as the singers reminisced about filming the video for 'Stop' in Ireland.

Messages flashed above the stage stating every gender, race and sexuality was welcome.

And Mel B announced she'd seen "More than a few queens" in the crowd.

Croke Park was well and truly alive with families and friends uniting under a very positive pop message of togetherness.

The women sat together and Geri sipped what appeared to be a cup of tea.

"Last night I said we'll be back where we started and it's 28 years later," Geri said.

"Grown up women dressed as a princess and leopard, what will they think?"

'Viva Forever' saw the band change into long chiffon dresses and a romantic atmosphere swept across the stadium, everyone joining in with each word.This was the first song that reminded everyone about some of the more touching and sincere pop songs the band had produced. And it also gave Mel C the opportunity to show off her soulful vocals.

82,000 people were in the crowd.

Geri said: "We are friends and we go through ups and downs. We say Goodbye to the bad times and move on together," introducing 'Goodbye.'

The band also performed 'Say you'll be There', 'Two become One,' 'Stop.'

Mel C said: "I really don't think we could've started our tour anywhere better."

"Yes, the Irish are very friendly," Geri added.

The women then sat on a tricolour sofa for 'Mama I Love You.'

And finished off with a raucous Wannabe.

But not everyone was impressed and some fans took to Twitter to complain about poor sound quality. It seemed there could have been an issue with the sound system in that the singing wasn't perhaps as crystal clear as it could have been.

But it certainly didn't deter from the carnival atmosphere on the night.

Lorraine Morgan, from Co Galway, took her daughter Maia, 13, to the colourful concert to show her just what a special blend of feminism looked like in all its magnificent glory.

"It's really exciting," Ms Morgan said. "Maia turned 13 on Thursday and tonight is all about being a girl and we are loving it.

"There's nothing that screams girl power like the Spice Girls."

Friends Niamh Martin, 25 from Drimnagh, Dublin and Shauna Masterson, 25, from Leopardstown, Dublin, were channeling their best Scary Spice as they stepped back into the '90s Brit Pop era.

"I've been into the Spice Girls since I was very small. I love Scary Spice," Ms Martin said.

Ms Masterson added:  "They're great because it's all about being a girl.

"They were probably the only girl band round back then and they really had an effect on little girls of our generation.

"They've definitely still got it."

Melody May Regan, 8, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, may have been one of the youngest fans on the night.

The youngster had become a fan of Mel B after watching the northern English singer in her other well-known role as an America's Got Talent judge.

"Melody loves Scary Spice," the little girl's mother, Cara Gorman said.

"She saw her on the TV show and then she wanted to know more about her and I showed her YouTube videos of the band singing and she couldn't believe it.

"The whole idea of girl power was just mesmerising for her and she's been a fan ever since.

"She felt so empowered and optimistic for all girls can do after watching them sing."

Mother and daughter attended the sold out concert with Michelle O'Gara and Bonnie Mai Gilsenan, 8.

Friends Jennifer Dunne, 33, from Cabra, Dublin and Jennifer Brennan, 26, from Blanchardstown, Dublin, relived fond memories of childhood as they took in the historic importance of the occasion.

"I've been into the Spice Girls since the '90s and I remember hearing them on the radio in my granny's garden," Ms Brennan said.

"My first word was Mama because all I did was listen to that song, 'Mama I Love You.'

"Tonight is a really special night and we're loving being here."

Super fan Lena Aeichele travelled from Vancouver to watch the foursome and she brought her good luck charms with her, dolls of the famous band, bought in their heyday.

The atmosphere across Croke Park and throughout Drumcondra in Dublin was carnival like as fans of all ages reunited for a special time in pop history.

Young women joined arms and sang 'Spice Up Your Life' lyrics walking down the street on the way to the gig.

And one young woman knocked on her friend's door round the corner from the venue excitedly screaming Wannabee lyrics. The pair embraced. It was almost as if they were little girls once again.

A crowd of at least 30 women on a hen do serenaded the bride to be, singing "Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married."

While mothers danced in aisles of the home of the GAA as they reminisced on a very special bygone era when five young women took the world by storm.

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