Review: Melanie C ****

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Sheffield O2 Academy

To most of us, she will forever be known as Sporty Spice, yet she sails into The Sea Tour with a healthy backlog of solo tunes and individual performing experience.

Still, can the girl power Melanie C radiated in the 90s and Noughties endure in a music industry now dominated by a new generation of strong females?

She opened the show with Rock Me, a track from her latest album, The Sea. Although playing to a cosy crowd of a few hundred, her stage presence inspired an outbreak of jumping and hands in the air, especially from the band of avid disciples on the front row. Telllingly, they knew every word to her recent tracks.

Classic hits, such as Northern Star and Never be the Same Again, were just as well received as songs from her latest album. Baby When You’re Gone, originally a duet with Bryan Adams, provided more nostalgic moments for the older audience members (though, predictably, they were denied any Spice Girls songs.)

A defining moment came courtesy of the encore – the elevating, trancey anthem, I Turn To You and most left feeling they’d witnessed a real pro doing what she does best.

The artist formerly known as Sporty Spice, may be forever associated with the 1990s girl group, but Mel C’s maturity has brought with it a genuine stage presence akin to Sheryl Crow or Alanis Morissette.

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