LONDON Nearly a decade after their last British concert, the Spice Girls made a triumphant return home with a sell-out performance that critics hailed as the return of "girl power".
Most reviewers agreed that the group managed to recreate the excitement of their 1990s heyday at the first date of the UK leg of their reunion world tour.
"Spice One Girls -- Band even better this time round," screamed the banner headline in Sunday's News of the World.
"(They) gave the show of the century -- bigger, bolder, brasher and, yes, more brilliant," said the paper's Rav Singh.
The group were one of the most popular acts of the 1990s, selling 55 million albums worldwide under their slogan "girl power". They began their comeback world tour in Canada.
"Girl power is back. The show was fantastic," said the Sunday Mirror's reviewer June Sarpong under the headline "Gold Spice", with a picture of the quintet in dazzling gold costumes.
Saturday's concert came less than a week after Led Zeppelin played at the same arena in east London.
"If you thought Robert Plant's banshee wail was loud, you should have heard the screeching that 20,000 hardcore Spice Girls fans made when their idols returned to the stage," said the Sunday Telegraph's James Delingpole.
The Sunday Express said "Girl Power takes over UK again", while the Observer said they were "better than ever" with performances of hits such as "Spice Up Your Life" and "Wannabe".
However, not everyone was convinced by the return of Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, Melanie "Sporty" Chisholm, Geri "Ginger" Halliwell, Melanie "Scary" Brown and Emma "Baby" Bunton.
The Independent on Sunday said the sound quality was terrible and the singing slapdash, although the audience didn't seem to care.
"It may have been fake on stage, done for sound business reasons, but for many in the crowd it looked real," said the paper's Cole Moreton. "Posh and the others should have been the ones paying the fans."
(Reporting by Peter Griffiths, Editing by David Clarke)
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