Headlines Tour Review – Cardiff International Arena – 25th February 2011

A RAIN-SWEPT Cardiff welcomed a river of girl-band fans, snaking its way across the city centre, huddled under brollies and ready to welcome The Saturdays to the stage of the CIA.

The audience, a fascinating mix of pre-teens, mums, dads, grandparents and older girls – some, so spectacularly overdressed that they had become impossible to age – buzzed around the venue, slugging fizzy drinks and chewing at candy floss, while parents choked at the price of the merchandise.

Boy-band trio Twenty Twenty opened up proceedings with a short set of power pop anthems – and managed to bring the majority of the girlie audience to an early frenzy.

As they bid their smitten fans farewell, I somehow ended up catching the drummer’s stick, which he’d casually tossed out into the audience. Slightly embarrassed at having gleefully outreached the gaggle of teens surrounding me, I dutifully handed it on to the grateful, gooey-eyed fan sitting next to me.

Dance act, SixD, fooled the audience into thinking the main act had arrived, then provided a further 15 minutes of fairly forgettable R’n’B, which was rescued by some impressively acrobatic street dance routines.

It all formed a neat little package, and good value for money, as with excitement and hormones now cranked to new levels, the full-length curtains revealed a hi-tec, X-Factor style stage set.

And so The Saturdays finally appeared – all long legs and short, sparkling dresses, perfect teeth smiling to an ecstatic and sold-out CIA scream as the opening notes of one of their eight top ten hits, Higher, rang out.

With Britain’s girl bands thin on the ground, dissolved or in hibernation, The Saturdays should realistically be a household name.

Each of them produced a highly polished routine, somehow managing to dance and climb around the impressive and ever-changing, Hogwart’s style stage set in heels that would be discarded by lesser mortals and carried.

Relaxed in their performances, and with singles Up, I Just Can’t Get Enough and Issues being particular highpoints – the lack of current competition in their market should see The Saturdays clean up.

Maybe the inclusion of a Rihanna medley illustrates that they need to unearth some more big-hitter singles themselves, but they appear comfortable in representing a single, slightly non-descript entity, with none of them in particular standing out. All very girl next door and nice, but maybe lacking a little bit of edge.

Then again, some may call this a good thing – an honest bit of entertainment, an extremely able backing band providing all of the music and a proper bit of old fashioned glitz meant The Saturdays left a Friday night crowd very happy indeed.

Review: WalesOnline

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