All Saints “Red Flag Tour” – 15 October 2016, O2 Academy Sheffield


As a teenager in the 90s, “Never Ever” was the song of the decade and All Saints were the girl band I wanted to be part of, and their debut self-titled album was my most played cassette. Two decades later their new album “Red Flag” (sounds amazing on vinyl) I consider the best come back album ever, so when Shazney (producer of my favourite ever solo album by an ex-band member), Melanie and Appleton sisters Nicola and Natalie announced a tour including Sheffield’s O2 Academy (location of the first ever music gig I went to in Sheffield) I knew me and my best friend had to be in the audience.

Support act on the night came from Norway’s 26 year old singer-songwriter Hanne Leland, who combines fun lyrics and a dance pop anthem style with a Kylie style vocal and the style of a young Gwen Stefani. Sadly her albums don’t appear to be on sale in the UK but I will definitely be downloading MP3’s of her tracks. Hanne was followed by a short DJ set by a friend and producer of All Saints of 90s and 00s dance classics closing with a certain Sheffield favourite about working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.

But we were all there for the foursome who took their name from a London street (not a clothing chain) who didn’t disappoint with a setlist containing a mix of all the greatest hits us fans craved combined with songs from the new album and even a melody of solo material including my favourite Shazney Lewis song, Mel’s collaboration with the Artful Dodger and an Appleton classic:

  1. I Know Where It’s At
  2. Puppet on a String
  3. Rock Steady
  4. Black Coffee
  5. Summer Rain
  6. Chick Fit
  7. Ratchet Behaviour
  8. Red Flag
  9. Bootie Call
  10. This is a War
  11. War of Nerves
  12. One Women Man
  13. Lady Marmalade
  14. Who Hurt Who
  15.  Twentyfourseven / Never felt like this before / Don’t worry (solo melody)
  16. Under the Bridge
  17. Never Ever
  18. One Strike
  19. Pure Shores

The foursome were on top perform serving up the best gig I have ever been in the audience for by a female act whilst not looking two years yet alone two decades older than the start of the career, possessing excellent voices and dance moves, with not a cargo pant inside, just an array of sparkly blazers. Shazney still rocks with soul, Mel’s as sweet as ever and like in the 90s I can’t spot the difference between the Appleton sisters but when you put the quartet together vocal magic happens and it’s like they’ve never been apart and that this tour was a band reunion tour for the sake of it but a tour that proved that All Saints are meant to be and have earned their place in British music.

Stand out tracks for me included their fantastic puppet style moves to my favourite track from their new album “Puppet on a String”, “Bootie Call” which got me on the dance floor, “War of Nerves” whose beauty almost had me in tears, “Lady Marmalade’ which combined a great tribute to Salt-N-Peppa with band introductions and a mass audience singalong to every word of “Never Ever”.

There are just two more chances to catch the girls on their Red Flag tour, which are the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend on Monday 17 October and The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich on Tuesday 18 October.

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