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Risqué show ‘spices’ up United Center

Mandi Stirone | Sunday, February 17, 2008

Walking into Chicago’s United Center for the Spice Girls concert Friday night was, I can only imagine, very similar to going to a Cher concert. There were almost as many men in teeny-tiny outfits and heels as there were women in the same attire.

Among the many drag queens in attendance were four dressed as the Spice Girls, something I expected of the girls in attendance, not the boys. There was also a man dressed up as Wonder Woman, which may or may not have been a tribute to “Spice World” the movie, in which one of the girls dresses up as Wonder Woman for a photo shoot.

Not every male in attendance was dressed in drag; there were, surprisingly, several groups of guys scattered throughout the arena dressed perfectly normally. These were definitely the minority, though.

By the time the five Spice Girls rose to the stage and began the concert with “Spice Up Your Life,” I had already seen more sequins, leopard print, pigtails, and crimped hair, on girls and guys, than I ever wanted to.

For their part, the Spice Girls themselves seemed more than aware that their fan base had grown up. The show featured quite a bit more risqué implications than would’ve been expected of the girls when they were catering to the 12-year-old audience of the 1990s.

Though not every act featured it, the girls demonstrated the sexual nature of their songs. During “Two Become One,” the girls danced on platforms with candy-striped stripper poles while dancers used feathered wings for accompaniment.

In Scary Spice Melanie Brown’s solo act, an unsuspecting man was strapped to her “machine,” a giant metallic “A” shaped stand. “He has no idea what I’m going to do,” she said while she danced around the stage in her signature leopard print with a whip singing “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz. The song concluded with Brown running up to her prisoner and mimicking oral sex before the lights went down.

During the song “Holla” which was released after Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) left the group, the four Spice Girls got extremely touchy-feely with the dancers. At one point they walked down the “catwalk” portion of the stage with the four male dancers crawling in front of them on leashes.

Despite being in their 30s, all five sported the same type of skimpy outfits they wore during the 90s. In the opening few songs, the girls all wore metallic-inspired outfits that mimicked their signature styles.

For “Lady is a Vamp,” the Spice Girls sported 1940s lounge inspired outfits which included Halliwell wearing what appeared to be a man’s dress coat. They also sported classic outfits such as Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) wearing her usual tight little dresses and Halliwell wearing her well-known Union Jack dress.

Baby Spice (Emma Bunton) was probably the most mature looking with dresses that reached mid-thigh as opposed to just above the butt. The Spice Girl who changed the least, Sporty Spice (Melanie Chisholm), still seemed content to wear studded track suits or, if she absolutely had to, some form of pants suit.

Then, they decided to throw a curve ball at fans. During the song “Mama” the four Spice Girls who are now mothers brought their children on stage to demonstrate that they are grown up now, even if their wardrobes don’t demonstrate as much.

All in all, the Spice Girls lived up to their name, bringing fans the type of show they might’ve expected during the height of their popularity, with a few twists and turns.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Mandi Stirone at astiro01@saintmarys.edu