There was an outcry from fans when JLS announced their split earlier this year, and the tour that was planned for December suddenly became their Goodbye Greatest Hits tour. Fast forward to a few months later – girls with ‘JLS’ painted on their faces carrying merchandise that flashed different coloured lights, crammed their way into the arena excited for the night ahead.
Female solo artist Hatty Keane kicked the night off with her all female dance group. Her dub step infused pop attempted to lift the crowd, but most people around me seemed unimpressed, including myself. I can’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t enjoy, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
Next popped out NVS who are no strangers to the JLS fans having supported them on their last arena tour. They knew how to work up the crowd with chatting, throwing out free gifts and dancing to their (cheesy) dance anthems. By this point, people were in good spirits and out of their seats.
Lastly, a small backing band complete with a singer called Mike Hough came on to the stage whilst a few screams could be heard from the audience. It seems this guy already has a number of fans without even releasing any official material yet. Out of all the support acts he seemed the most-professional, who looks like he might have a bright career ahead of him…. good music too!
No gimmicks, no crazy outfits or props – JLS were just JLS. It was a stripped-back show which brought back the old four guys we have grown to love throughout their career. Featuring just four male backing dancers and a whole mix of tracks from all four albums (with a live band may I add), it was a fantastic sing-a-long show complete with hip thrusting (wouldn’t be JLS without it), Aston taking his top off (wouldn’t be JLS without it) and pure entertainment.
Songs included ‘Only Tonight’, ‘She Makes Me Wanna’, ‘Everybody In Love’, ‘Close To You’, ‘One Shot’ and ‘Hottest Girl In The World’. By the time they started to sing ‘Proud’, girls around me were in floods of tears, mascara running down their faces and hands waving in the air. After having so much fun, it was easy to forget that JLS will be in fact splitting up as soon as the tour ends.
It wasn’t an all-out extravaganza of a show, but a stripped-back and raw concert that reminded us why the fans are fans in the first place. We need more boy bands like JLS, who by the way, set the path for future groups like One Direction and Union J.