MELANIE C, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 13 Jan 2014


A genial host, all the hits and cake for everyone upon exit — Melanie Chisholm’s birthday concert, snappily billed “Sporty’s 40”, couldn’t fail to charm.

The only signs of a midlife crisis were in her song introductions, which were so giddy that at times they were incomprehensible. Though she wasn’t drunk (yet), she was excited to be among friends, including Emma Bunton, Chris Moyles and Natalie Appleton of All Saints, doing what she loves best.

Not for her the post-Spice fashion line or dodgy telly. The only Spice Girl who could really sing has stuck at it, and though some solo albums have proved more successful than others, she’s clearly making music for the right reasons. Celebrity duetting partners were outweighed by her less glitzy co-writers, including Adam Argyle on the breezy acoustic Don’t Let Me Go, Peter Vetesse on the furious break-up song You’ll Get Yours, and James Walsh of Starsailor on the classy highlight One by One.

“This is like This is Your Life!” she squealed, and there was a sense that her brightest moments were in the past. “This was a UK number one you know,” she felt the need to remind the audience before Never be the Same Again, recalling the moment at the start of the Millennium when it looked like she might do a Robbie Williams, before depression got in the way.

Now she’s enjoying herself much more, hugging every guest and laughing at the size of that cake. Perhaps life really does begin here.