A fish out of water and a fan are amazed when they find themselves so close to the stage. The fish does concerts and not clubs, the fan does clubs and not concerts, but this chalk and cheese pair were both in for a great night, when fire canons blazed, announcing the arrival on stage of Little Mix.
They were sitting so close, they could feel the heat of the flames that leapt into the air as the four band members rose up through the middle of the stage belting out their recent hit single ‘Power’.
The thing about a gig on this kind of scale is that it’s impossible not to get swept up in the mob mentality. The age of the audience was all over the place — mums, daughters, 20 somethings — it was definitely a girl power atmosphere.
Little Mix were very much aware of this. Being extremely confident young women with an incredible stage presence, they used this as an asset to encourage their fans, predominantly young and female, to be strong and sure within themselves. Their performance of ‘Salute’ was enough to make anyone proud of their femininity — even some of the dads in the audience.
This open encouragement of self-love was not exclusive to women. A particularly powerful moment in the evening took place before their emotional rendition of ‘Secret Love Song’: as the four women walked down a catwalk suspended above the audience, they called attention to the LGBT+ community, recognising that the songs had become a sort of pride anthem.
This was reflected by the audience, with many holding up rainbow coloured flags bearing the songs’ lyrics throughout the stadium. It was the first time hearing this song for the fish, but here, the fan found a fresh light shed on the song and the possible meaning of it’s lyrics.
The stagecraft was immense, with confetti cannons, flamethrowers and various sets brought to the fore like tigers in the Colosseum. Equally, both were wowed by the intensity of the choreography, with not just the backup dancers but Little Mix themselves performing full routines, in perfect sync, whilst singing. Perrie Edwards in particular, was not afraid to prove her talent, singing daring vocal riffs and ornamentations.
One criticism might be their failure to establish any particularly genuine relationship with the audience. The short and sweet conversations between themselves and the audience intermixed with the songs frequently felt scripted; there was the ever corny line “I know I’m not meant to say this, but you are the best audience we’ve had.” This line is one that can be genuine, but it definitely did not have that ring this time around.
On the whole, though, both girls left the night buzzing, enough so that the fish even felt ready to go out and boogie the night away in the Northern Quarter. Little Mix worked like an espresso, giving both a shot of girl power that would last all week.
By Millie Nettleton and Francesca McClimont