"Girl Power" Charges Wisconsin

The Marcus Amphitheater
July 29, 1998

Story by Tony Bonyata
Photo by Phil Bonyata

The Spice Girls, the divas of disposable bubblegum pop, brought their enormous spectacle of a show to Milwaukee last Wednesday, complete with an elaborate stage design, intelligent lighting, numerous costume changes and enough male dancers to make Busby Berkeley envious.
Although their show resembled a glitzy Vegas review more than a pop concert, Sporty, Posh, Baby and Scary nonetheless won over the packed house of pre-teen girls and their parents - mostly mothers - who escorted them to the Marcus Amphitheater. Instead of having an opening act, the girls had the marketing savvy to hawk
Spice Girls commercials geared towards a young eager market on the giant video screens throughout the theater. Ads from Gillette, Ponds and Revlon showed the thousands of pre-pubescent girls how they could spice up their own appearances with the help of Spice Girl endorsed cosmetics.
The four girls hit the stage amidst high-pitched, ear-piercing screams and opened up with the energetic number "If You Can't Dance" and then ran through other hits such as "Wannabe", "2 Become 1", "Stop" and "Too Much". Although the girls 15 minutes of fame may be waning, to say that they're bankrupt in the talent department may be a bit harsh. The choreography, dancing, and, more importantly, the posing was impressive. Their five-piece band proved to be more than competent as they ran through Latin rhythms on "Spice Up Your Life" as well as the spanish-flavored balladry of "Viva Forever". Vocally, the girls don't pretend to be songbirds, instead they focus more on image and spectacle than sound, and let's face it, that's exactly what their 9 to 13 year-old target audience is concerned with - the look.
From clunky, high-heeled shoes, mini-mini skirts, gangster outfits, colorful dresses to body stockings that gave the appearance that they were in their birthday suits on the song "Naked", the girls wowed the crowd with their fashion antics.
It seemed earlier this year when Ginger Spice, the feisty red-head and most popular Spice Girl, quit, the band was doomed. The foursome have carried on, but not altogether without her. Instead Ginger's presence could still be felt throughout the show. Her face flashed over the video screens as well as t-shirts and posters that the vendors where selling. It seems that although Ginger is gone physically, it makes more sense to keep at least a piece of her in the show.
While they may not have what it takes to build a long-lasting career in music, the Spice Girls exuded enough 'girl power' to charge a Wisconsin amphitheater filled with wide-eyed, screaming girls and their almost as entranced mothers for, at least, one evening.

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