The Spice Girls were back on stage together for the first time in ten years on Friday night, kicking off their stadium tour in spectacular style.
They might have been a member down - Victoria wished them luck on Instagram ahead of the gig - but Mel B, Geri, Emma and Mel C delighted the 75,000 fans packed into Dublin’s Croke Park.
After emerging from beneath the huge stage, they opened the show with their number 1 hit Spice Up Your Life.
Backed by a huge production, the message of unity, togetherness and love was clear from the off.
“Welcome to Spice World,” Geri told the crowd. “Spice girls, spice boys, everyone is welcome. We want every single one of you to feel special tonight. Like a king or a queen, we celebrate you. But I got to say there are a lot of queens here tonight.”
The 23-song setlist featured all nine of the group’s number 1 singles, as well as a few surprises.
Holler was mixed with Beyonce’s Run The World, plus they put their own stamp on disco classics including Car Wash and We Are Family.
Hinting at her recent feud with Mel B after Scary claimed she’d had a fling with her in their heyday, Geri told the crowd: “We want to say thank you for coming here tonight and we want to share the good times and the bad.
“Real friends and real families go through ups and downs because they love each other. We love each other and we love you. We are still here and we are still together.”
Halfway through the hits-packed show, the group paid tribute to Victoria Beckham in a video montage.
Irish premier Leo Varadkar, his partner Matt Barrett and Mr Varadkar’s sister Sonia were among the crowd, as was the country’s European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee who attended with a group of her friends.
Mel C told the crowd it was very special for the band to be back in Dublin.
She said: “In ’98, we started our world tour in Dublin so we truly are home. It’s got a very special place in our hearts.”
It is the first time the group has performed since the closing ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012.
Scary, Baby, Ginger and Sporty had six costume changes each - and there were nods to some of their most famous looks, including Geri’s iconic Union Jack dress, which had been updated into something rather more regal.
Costume designer Gabriella Slade, who created all the looks for the tour, described them as “a grown up take on girl power’’.
There was also no eye patch in sight for Mel B, who had been wearing one after an eye infection caused her to go temporarily blind last week.
There was only way to close the show - with their debut single ‘Wannabe’, which topped the charts in 37 countries when it was released in 1997.
The group are performing another 12 sold-out stadium shows across the UK over the coming weeks, culminating in three sold-out nights at London’s Wembley Stadium next month.
Spice Up Your Life / If You Can’t Dance
Who Do You Think You Are?
Something Kind Of Funny
Military Cadence / Sound Off
Let Love Lead The Way
Never Give Up On The Good Times
We Are Family
Lady Is a Vamp
The Last Waltz
Say You’ll Be There
2 Become 1