M People Tour Review: Phones 4U Arena, Manchester, 10th October 2013 - Manchester Evening News
Katie Fitzpatrick finds M People still a sight for sore eyes 20 years on...
Has it really been 20 years since M People were our radio staple with songs from Elegant Slumming?
The Manchester-born band, founded by DJ legend Mike Pickering, are back to celebrate the landmark birthday of their Mercury Music Prize winning piece of 1990s pop perfection with a greatest hits set starting in their home city.
And from the opening notes of One Night in Heaven, it’s clear that frontwoman Heather Small’s distinctive voice has lost none of its power.
Neither does she look a day older. She shares a lovely big grin with percussionist Shovell before launching into Renaissance.
Arms aloft, she appropriately bellows the line ‘I’ll be your Queen’ while holding court before fans of all ages, including a small baby wearing woolly earmuffs.
“We are M People and we are back,” triumphs Heather, who unbelievably is 48 years old but looks young, trim and toned in a hot coral pink dress and scorching red heels.
Our leading lady cools us down with the early Nineties groove of So Excited, then we take a trip down Angel St before turning the clock right back to 1991 with their first ever track Colour My Life.
The sparkling highlight of the night is a stripped back acoustic Natural Thing, seeped in sax with added leather trousers.
Heather changes into a metallic gold suit to roar her way through Open Your Heart and the Hacienda house belter How Can I Love You More, which has the crowd jumping on the spot like crazy.
Lightning hands Shovell banging out the rhythms on Sight For Sore Eyes causes a party to break out as people leave their seats to dance in the aisles.
Pickering, who is not taking part in this tour, would be proud.
Their signature favourites Search for the Hero and Moving On Up close a blistering nostalgic set which will have many fans scrabbling to dig out their old copy of Elegant Slumming (and Northern Soul and Bizarre Fruit, too) for a regular trip down memory lane.
View tour photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mpeople-heathersmall/sets/72157636436603326/
View tour videos at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLdB77s-T7-5sgCtdjOPzRfKkQHaPxLXV