Spice Girls end tour, look forward to solo futures
TORONTO - The Spice Girls wrapped up their kitschy and nostalgic reunion tour Tuesday the same way they started it - in front of their dedicated Canadian fans - and with each of the campy quintet's members aiming for future solo success.
Fans and celeb watchers deemed the group's much-hyped comeback a success, with sold-out concerts in Canada, the United States and Europe said to have earned Posh, Ginger, Scary, Baby and Sporty millions of dollars.
But whether their mantra of "girl power" can catapult each performer - each with solo ventures that have remained overshadowed by their decade-old past - to future success is far from certain.
They're unlikely to ever taste fame as glorious as this, said gossip guru Tanya Kim, of CTV's ETalk.
"They'll probably never be as much of a powerful force as they were when they were together," said Kim, noting that Spice Girl Melanie Brown has come close to approaching such heights with her recent stint on "Dancing With the Stars."
"But Posh (Victoria Beckham), come on, out of all of them, I don't think she has anything to worry about. But that's also because she's riding off (soccer star husband) David's (Beckham) coat-tails a little bit."
Inserting herself into Hollywood's A-list assures her a solid future in the public eye, as well, Kim said.
"When you befriend Tom (Cruise) and Katie (Holmes) and Will (Smith) and Jada (Pinkett Smith) I'm sure you're going to be just fine. Watch, we'll see her in movies."
The Canadian Press decided not to review Tuesday's final Spice Girls concert after being told it could not shoot photos of the show.
Some devotees at the Air Canada Centre said they detected a note of sadness among the Spices as they brought the tour to a close, with Mel C apparently crying at one point. But overall, emotions were kept largely in check, said fan Jeremy Fechner.
"It almost seemed as if they were relieved it was over," said Fechner, noting it was one of the more elaborate and best-done productions he's ever seen. "It's a gruelling show."
The concert included cameos from Brown's baby Angel, Emma Bunton's baby Beau and Beckham's youngest son, a breakdancing Cruz, who were brought onstage for the song, "Mama."
The night ended with the Spices offering a string of thank-yous to their crew and each other, Fechner said.
"Before they did their last encore they said: 'Watch closely because this is the last time you'll see the Spice Girls perform.' It's kind of sad."
Still, Fechner said he was content to let the Spice Girls franchise fade away after the tour, noting his ardour was based largely on nostalgia rather than a desire to see more from the group.
"I don't know that I'm clamouring for them to release a new album or anything like that," said the 38-year-old Air Canada employee.
"I would like for them to at least be respectful of their fans and respectful of their image and maintain what they achieved. At their height, they were the biggest band in the world and I would like them to sort of give a nod of acknowledgment to that and say, thank you for your support, we may or may not do this again."
Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger, has said that the band will not reunite again, but admitted she said that the last time all five stood together onstage in 1998 when she left to pursue a solo career.
Halliwell is said to be planning a series of children's books that feature a young heroine, a venture that has fan Karen Kenny musing that Halliwell and the others feel it's time to carve out a new adult identity.
"I think she's at a different stage at her life," Kenny, 34, said while waiting at the Air Canada Centre for the show to start.
"She's a mother now and I think we're just seeing a different side to her, a lot softer of a side."
She predicted continued success for Beckham, but doubted the rail-thin celeb would continue with music. Beckham has declared fashion her real passion, and prefaced her Toronto farewell as a pop star with an afternoon appearance at Holt Renfrew in support of her eyewear and denim line, dVb.
After the tour, Brown, a.k.a. Scary Spice, will take on correspondent duties for the gossip TV show, "Access Hollywood." Melanie Chisholm, a.k.a. Sporty Spice, has been heavily promoting her solo singing career with side gigs along the tour route, while Bunton, a.k.a. Baby, has a newborn to look after.
Group members have said family commitments are what curtailed the comeback. They dropped scheduled visits to cities in South Africa, Australia and Argentina, a move which angered some fans.
They announced earlier this month that they would end the tour early with back-to-back shows in Toronto, and have disputed ongoing rumours of infighting as the cause.
The tour kicked off in Vancouver on Dec. 2 with a glitzy two-hour spectacle crammed with hits including "Stop," "Spice Up Your Life" and "Wannabe" and performances that played off each member's concocted personas.
For the most part, critics and fans have embraced the slick and stylish production, featuring a multi-level stage, 10 male dancers, elaborate costumes, dazzling laser shows and a finale of glittering confetti.