Melanie C at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Debuting her self-titled album for the first time since its release in 2020, Melanie C returned to London for the end of her long-awaited UK tour. To say that the audience was keen would be an understatement: the air in the Empire was thick with anticipation. With every on-stage change, the audience erupted with excitement.
The crowd was not disappointed as, after the first few beats of Who I Am, Melanie C roared onto stage proclaiming “That’s who I am!”, sending them into a complete frenzy and setting the tone for the night. It was the perfect song to open with as it perfectly encapsulated the message of the concert: to be yourself, unapologetically. She quickly followed it up with the second song from her album, Blame It on Me, which kept the atmosphere buzzing until she treated the veteran fans with one of her first solo singles, Never Be the Same Again, jokingly quipping that she used to be very angry when she first started her solo career. This openness and honesty with the audience only added to the feeling of seeing a good friend for the first time in years.
Nostalgia was something ever-present at the concert, from the way Melanie C was dressed in sporty attire to the choice of songs from not only her solo career but also from her time with the Spice Girls. Though all of the fans were there to see Melanie C in her own right, it was amazing to see and hear her perform two tracks from her time as part of the iconic girl band. The roof was very nearly torn off the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with everyone up on their feet dancing along to songs that many had grown up with.
The experience of seeing Melanie C in action is incomparable. All of her work is about the empowerment of the self and the battle that many, if not all, face with mental health. All this is beautifully brought together in Here I Am, which holds a message about finding “strength within [your] weakness”. It is also a rare instance to see how the tracks that are performed by artists have impacted them in their life, but in this case, seeing Melanie C almost brought to tears before performing Northern Star – which she dedicated to her baby, and a friend she had lost – brought many in the audience to tears, as the lyrics and melody resonated with many people’s experience of a loved one lost.
Though these traits are not unique in themselves, her performance is set apart from the rest due to years of experience with her fans. Her ability to hold their hands and walk them through her set without losing any energy is a testament to her years in the field, and also her bubbly personality. Coupled with her admittedly flawless vocals, the entire experience was simply finesse exemplified.
For those who have waited years to hear from Melanie C/Sporty Spice, this was the perfect night out, but also, for those who are new to her and her music, it was a night to see an artist completely bare her soul – a caring, loving woman full of life, and willing to share that with those who care.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Melanie C’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Here I Am here: