Written By: Mark Armstrong
Format: Music Show
Date: December 6 2017
Location: Echo Arena, Liverpool
It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since Steps first formed and marched their way to the top of the UK charts, with some of the most memorable and catchy pop tunes of the era. In recent years, we’ve seen Lee Latchford-Evans, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer and Ian Watkins (H) reform, bringing the band together much to the delight of fans new and old.
And the culmination of this has been their most notable year yet since reuniting, as their fifth studio album Tears On The Dancefloor was followed by the announcement of a UK tour, including a visit to Echo Arena. The demand for their previous show on November 18 led to a return date last night at Liverpool’s premier music venue, and all in attendance were rewarded with a great night of entertainment.
Kicking things off to warm up the crowd were the up-and-coming Max Restaino, and longtime pop music favourites the Vengaboys. The latter group particularly had the Liverpool audience on their feet, with the likes of We’re Going To Ibiza, The Vengabus and Boom Boom Boom Boom creating a real party atmosphere. All of this provided the perfect introduction to the main act of the night, Steps.
All five were in fine form, singing and dancing to maximum effect alongside some funky dancers and plenty of stunning visual effects, each specific to a particular song, on the gigantic LED screen behind the group. Additional props such as beds and cowboy garb (from head to toe) were additional elements thrown in to boost the value of the show, and given the intricacies of certain extended dance routines, it was a credit to all involved that everything flowed seamlessly without interruption (which wasn’t the case for their previous Liverpool show, when one backing dancer literally hopped off early on due to an injury).
All of the classic Steps tunes from yesteryear were on offer, such as 5,6,7,8 (which really had the Liverpool crowd dancing in the aisles), Last Thing On My Mind, Better Best Forgotten, One For Sorrow and, of course, Tragedy. The latter song closed proceedings, and the show peaked at this point due to the first-class vocals of the performers, the Liverpool crowd being in the palm of their hands, and the huge amount of confetti which accompanied the final chorus. There were also several numbers from their latest album for the younger and newer fans to appreciate, including Neon Blue and Tears On The Dancefloor.
One criticism I would have is that, from when Max opened the warm-up section to when the show closed, it was close to four hours, meaning that those who arrived early will have been on their feet for a very long time, especially those nearer the stage. Also, the ticket times didn’t necessarily represent when the earlier acts appeared on stage, which may have led to confusion for those without access to social media channels explaining specific performer times. Otherwise, though, this was a lot of fun, and almost everybody left with a smile on their face.
Whether you’re a newbie to Steps or an older attendee looking for a slice of late 90s nostalgia, a live show from Steps is as enjoyable a night at the arena as you could possibly get, and backed up by some cool party vibes from the Vengaboys and an eye towards the future with Max, the complete package comprises plenty of fantastic pop music.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent