The Spice Girls have reunited as a four-piece at Dublin's Croke Park, kicking off their highly anticipated world tour. Read Alex Doyle's review.

A packed Croke Park came alive tonight as a crowd of approximately 80,000 descended on the stadium to witness the return of the Spice Girls, and the group certainly did not disappoint.

The GAA ground was filled with old and new fans, proving the girl group have a future ahead of them as the next generation tell them what they Really, Really Want. The crowd was colourful, to say the least, as they donned leopard print outfits and brightly branded merchandise. Before the show even got underway excited fans continuously shouted "spice up your life" with pure joy. It seemed the Spice Girls’ work at engaging the crowd was already completed. 

Kate O'Toole, Grace Edmond, Aisling Minogue and Laura O'Sullivan arrive to watch The Spice Girls

Jess Glynne supported the girls, warming up the crowd with her unique and magnificent vocals. She kicked off the night with Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself which immediately had the crowd on their feet and dancing. No One and These Days followed before she asked the crowd, "Do you guys know a song of mine called Thursday?" which instantly provoked a reaction as they sang every lyric throughout the track with the singer. A standout moment for Jess Glynne’s entire set. 

She also offered the first live performance of her brand new single One Touch, quickly giving the audience a chance to learn the chorus before launching straight in. Jess then took the crowd back to the track that catapulted her to worldwide fame, Rather Be; her chart-topping collab with Clean Bandit. Girl power had well and truly already encapsulated Croker.

It was then time for the Spice Girls to grace the stage, minus Victoria Beckham, who chose not to reunite with the group.

Cue deafening cheers from the crowd as Mel B, Mel C, Emma and Geri took to the stage together for the first time since 2012. Despite being late, the crowd were very forgiving, and gave them the biggest Irish welcome - a whole 21 years since their last performance on the island. Premature fireworks lit up the sky, marking their return. It later transpired that they were a permanent fixture throughout the show.

The nostalgia was felt as soon as the girls opened their set with Spice Up Your Life, sending fans into a frenzy. That was followed by Who Do You Think You Are which equally received as much praise from the crowd.

"You all look fabulous," complimented Emma to the legion of people before her. A trip down memory lane was had as Mel B introduced them by their nicknames Scary, Sporty, Baby and Ginger Spice. Addressing the crowd once more, the girls said that "everybody is welcome, we celebrate you," adding: "We started our world tour here, so we’re home."

Sitting down on stage, the girls causally spoke to the audience, recalling how they first met at a train station, while Geri was mocked by Mel B for drinking a cup of tea. They also extracted humour by commenting on their outfits, as Geri wore a Union Jack dress (as expected), while Mel B rocked leopard print and Mel C and Emma wore hot blue and pink dresses respectively. A genuinely nice and down to earth moment which the crowd enjoyed.

The stage and graphics added to the party atmosphere. The choreography from the dancers alone should be applauded. There were multiple and drastic outfit changes throughout the show, but the outfits the Spice Girls wore for their performance of Viva Forever was most certainly the highlight. The entire production was exquisite. The warmth seemed to reach everyone, no matter how far away from the stage they were.

Further into the show and Let Love Lead the Way drew emotion from the crowd, but soon the party was back as the four sang the Sister Sledge’s We Are Family. 

In perhaps acknowledging recent reports about upset in the group, Mel C jested: "We’ve all had our ups and downs, remember when Geri left?!" They added that "We all have ups and downs but we still love each other," a perfect lead into Goodbye.

As the night progressed and the show approached its end, all four of the girls appeared on screen in a recorded clip explaining how much they mean to one another, holding back tears. However, the tears didn’t last long as they came back on stage to perform the last of their tracks, Stop and their very first ever single Wannabe. Although their vocals were shaky, the crowd helped them along the way as they sang every word with them.

Very few artists are able to keep their audience on their feet, dancing and singing throughout an entire show, especially after being away for so long, but the Spice Girls managed just that. It’s something that most artists dream of achieving. All four of the girls appeared to recognise this too, as they stamped their feet with excitement throughout the show at the crowds energy.

The Spice Girls are back, and Viva Forever.

Alex Doyle