It’s twenty years since Bring it On hit our CD players when we were fresh-faced freshers in uni, so there was always an element that this was going to be a nostalgia tour. But OH MY GOD - last night was perhaps the most amazing gig of my life, and I’m sure that everyone in the audience would agree. At first, I thought "Why does everyone seem so old?" And then I realised, well, it’s because we’ve all aged 20 years. Most people were bespectacled, but not in the hipster way, more in the “I-need-them-to-see” way. There was a moment where me and some guy kept catching eyes, which would have been the exact mating calls of the late teens, early 20s in their natural habitat, except I then noticed he had a hearing aid and my knees were creaking.
Then they came on stage, and everyone's excitement was palpable. Gomez were electric.
Ben Ottewell has aged beautifully, and as for his voice - exactly the same, as though preserved in time. He managed the crowd wonderfully, letting us sing along at opportune moments. At first the rest of the band seemed to be going through the motions and maybe not enjoying it all that much, and then it was like someone flipped a switch - suddenly they were on, and we all soared.
Bring it On clearly holds a place in people’s affection. The show was completely sold out, and it was packed. Everyone was transported to their youth as they played the songs pretty much in the order we were accustomed to (with some slight changes).
With every song that ended, and every guitar change, I felt a wave of panic - "Nooo, please don’t let it end!" - then relief that came with the next song. The acoustics in the 02 are excellent. The audience were completely wired by the end, and it was clear that we weren’t going anywhere without an encore. My plus one said "Will we get out now to avoid the crowds?", and I replied, "Absolutely not!" We whooped and clapped when the band said that there were going to do something they’ve never done before, and that was to play a song twice in one night. We were treated to Whippin’ Piccadilly again, and everyone went wild.
It was hard to tell if it was brilliant because of nostalgia, or because it was Gomez. It doesn’t matter. The Bring it On tour is running in the UK til early September, and I strongly recommend that, if you were twenty years old twenty years ago, you go.