Steps @ o2 Arena 19th April 2012

Boxing Day 2001 Steps split up, 2 months after the release of their greatest hits Gold. This was disappointing because the band had strongly denied the split during that year (H and Claire actually left the band on the last night of the Gold tour due to their ongoing unhappiness in the band). Since the split H & Claire became a duo, Lisa Scott Lee had her own TV series and a trio of top 20 hits and Faye Tozer released a single with Russell Watson. Ever since the band broke up rumours started flying. 2011 then saw the release of The Ultimate Collection which was an updated version of Steps’s greatest hits which shot straight to #1. Also The Ultimate Tour was announced. Due to the fact I had been a fan of their music back in 1998 I therefore decided to purchase a ticket. The newly reunited quintet were to play 2 nights at the o2 Arena (the 2nd was added soon after). Once my ticket was purchased I managed to get a seat in Block 112.

Fast forward to April 2012, I was rather looking forward to this concert because you know that they were going to put on a show. Plus they have had a series of classic pop songs. The evening kicked off at 8.30 in spectacular fashion. What was displayed was a massive screen which showed a safe which had a countdown. Then the band rose to the stage each in 5 glass vials. Here & Now kicked things off. The choreography was fantastic and this song was sung perfectly. This was the first time I had witnessed them live but from the very first song I knew I was in for a good night. Straight when Here & Now was over it was straight into You’ll Be Sorry. This song backed Here & Now when it was released as a double AA single. I must say I rather liked the outfits. The crowd were definitely revelling in these catchy pop tunes. It was then into Deeper Shade Of Blue and the back drop showed plenty of people marching (a la Cheryl Cole). They got the choreography down to a T. I rather liked the dance breakdown towards the end of the song. The band left the stage only to appear on a hydraulic lift in the centre of the stage. “We’re back” they then all said. After a little bit of banter with the crowd they then did a few dance moves to see if the crowd remembers which song it was from. It was no surprise that everyone knew. “I’d like to say a massive hello and welcome back to everyone whose seen a Steps concert before, and then a big hello and welcome to the new Steps generation” Scott Lee then said to the packed out arena. It was then onto something unique this being the biggest Interactive Dance Game. For this game there were three levels. It was like the Wii game Just Dance but with Steps songs. It was onto Last Thing On My Mind and literally everyone were joining in. After it was onto the wonderful Better Best Forgotten. Now I love this song because the lyrics are delectable and infectious at the same time. For the last level the dancers took to the stage for Love’s Got A Hold On My Heart. Once over the lift lowered and they all took to the stage. It was then onto the countrified 5,6,7,8. This song is one cheesy classic you can’t help but fall in love with. Its verses were mainly sung by Lee. Once over the band leave the stage and fan videos of people doing the dance routine to the song were displayed on the two huge screens. It was then onto my favourite Steps song and this being Summer Of Love. Like Deep Shade Of Blue this song had a dance breakdown. Once over there was a short dance interlude then they returned to sing the Kylie classic Better The Devil You Know which had been mixed with Lady Gaga’s Judas. The combination of these two songs actually worked rather well and it was a real crowd pleaser. Also the take on Judas had been slowed down plus towards the end they each played with fire. What followed after was the solo part of the tour. Lee opened this part of the set with his take on Moves Like Jagger which also sampled S&M. His take on this song oozed energy and Lee put everything into it. “Welcome to the solo section. A lot of you guys have probably know but for those of you that don’t. When Steps go on tour we like to do a solo section and basically its to show personally our appreciation to you guys as a huge thankyou” Latchford Evans said before introducing Faye Tozer. Tozer’s solo song was a cover of Jennifer Hudson’s One Night Only which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. It was delivered perfectly and the vocals were extraordinary. Also the fact she was sitting on a huge pink stiletto was surreal. At the end Faye was joined by male dancers who were wearing pink high heels. It was then onto Don’t Stop Believing which was sung by Ian “H” Watkins. You could tell that he had spent ages perfecting this song. The screen behind him was displaying images one being water droplets which H avoided. This choreography was literally timed to perfection. Don’t Stop Believing was a feel good song. “Tonight we are filming Steps live at the o2” H said after he finished his solo song. “If you think tonight is camp come to Hyde Park on 11th July” he then said plugging the Hit Factory event. It was then onto Lisa’s solo song this being a medley of Heaven/ Lately/ Beautiful People. The combination of these three songs worked rather well. The one solo song which amazed me was Claire’s take on Celine Dion’s I Surrender. Richards was wearing this long dress and the vocals were impeccable. “London you’re amazing” Richards said once her solo song was over.

Following on was It’s The Way You Make Me Feel. The band came dressed in Victoria n suits and ball gowns. This number went down well with the crowd and plenty of people were singing along. Heartbeat was next and this was the bands first #1 hit. This song is a beautiful ballad and featured on début album Step One. “London we’re here tonight because of you guys” H said before saying it is because of us they had a #1 album and had sold out arenas. It was then onto the photo opportunity and as I was too far away I couldn’t get a good one. Lee mentioned that Steps were here to stay and weren’t going anywhere. When I Said Goodbye was next and this being a tear jerking ballad which was played at a slow pace. Or this song they just sat on the steps and faultlessly delivered it. One For Sorrow was the next to be played on the night. This was a feel good song (well they all were) and was yet another slice of pop perfection. When the song was over it was then onto another costume change then it was Stomp. This song is yet another infectious song which you feel obliged to have a good dance too. Chain Reaction was infused to the ending of Stomp. I simply love their take on this song. It’s a song that makes you feel good inside. The night ended with an unique take on Abba’s Dancing Queen. The tempo had been sped up plus there was a disco feel to it. When the song was approaching the end the confetti canons fired out confetti ending what had been an epic night. The band then left the stage to a reprise of Dancing Queen. An encore was looking likely because they missed out one song. This being Tragedy. The whole band each appeared at the top of the steps to deliver this Bee Gees cover brilliantly.

SET LIST

Here And Now
You’ll Be Sorry
Deeper Shade Of Blue
Last Thing On My Mind
Better Best Forgotten
Love’s Got A Hold On My Heart
5,6,7,8
Summer Of Love
Better The Devil You Know/ Judas

SOLO

Moves Like Jagger/ S & M (Lee)
One Night Only (Faye)
Don’t Stop Believing (H)
Heaven/ Lately/ Beautiful People (Lisa)
I Surrender (Claire)

It’s The Way You Make Me Feel
Heartbeat
When I Said Goodbye
One For Sorrow
Stomp
Chain Reaction
Dancing Queen

ENCORE

Tragedy

OVERALL: One word amazing. I have been a follower of Steps’s music since 1998 and never had the opportunity to see them live. This concert was so much fun and flew by as I was enjoying myself hearing some infectious pop tunes. The choreography may be slightly cheesy but they nailed it to perfection. It was slightly upsetting that they missed out both After The Love Has Gone and Say You’ll Be Mine as I adore both of those songs. Based on what I witnessed I would consider seeing them again. Everyone does have their guilty pleasures, I guess Steps are one of mine.

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