6th March 2016 O2 Arena.
With 29 UK chart hits to their name, 4 number one albums and 15 million records sold, Wet Wet Wet were one of the 90s biggest acts. After going their separate ways before the millennium, the band reformed in 2004 and despite it being nearly 30 years since their debut album was released they are still able to attract arena-sized audiences and are a band on absolute top form.
After a supporting slot from newcomer Ben McKelvey with his down to earth semi-acoustic set, former Westlife member, Markus Feehily successfully threw off his boyband comfort blanket and proved that he could stand alone as a solo artist. Performing tracks from his debut solo album Fire, Feehily has had a George Michael-esque transition away from the bubblegum pin up and towards a more soulful sound, which really suits his voice. A tremendous performance, packed with great backing singers, tonnes of confidence and some Gospel inspired re-workings of some Westlife favourites, proves that there is life after a boyband.
Speaking of pin up's, there was no doubt that Wet Wet Wet's lead singer, Marti Pellow was a huge heartthrob back in the day. There's no denying that the cheeky Glaswegian still has that bedazzling smile and a teasing glint in his eye as he charms the rapturous crowd to East Of The River and Wishing I Was Lucky. Ol' brown eyes continued to seduce the crowd during Sweet Surrender proving that he still has it. Vocally he is sounding fantastic. The last decade of performing in musical theatre has certainly sharpened him up and his performance energy is set at 100% from the get-go; a consummate professional and showman until the very end.
The band, bassist Graeme Clark, keyboard player Neil Mitchell and drummer Tommy Cunningham are also on top form, enjoying plenty of on-stage interaction. They are boosted by a sexy brass section which gives them an edge as they perform a mixture of cover songs, old favourites and tracks from their 1995 Picture This album including Julia Says, Morning and Somewhere, Somehow. Marti and Graeme look back at those heady days that were the 90's and was ribbing himself for being dressed in crushed purple velvet and Versace before exclaiming 'what was I thinking!' Don't worry Marti, it was the 90s – everyone was wearing it! They then perform acoustic versions of Roll 'Em Easy and She's All On My Mind and Gypsy Girl which make a subdued mid point break to an excellent high energy set.
Marti tells the audience that the band have been in the studio and treat us to a new song entitled Love Wars, which has the same magical ingredients that made the band so popular and is sure to become a regular set filler. Angel Eyes, Goodnight Girl, With A Little Help From My Friends all go down a storm and have the crowd dancing in their seats like it was 1995 all over again. The Roy Orbison inspired track All I Want and a cover of John Martyn's May You Never, also feature in the hit heavy set.
The encore consisted of Lip Service and their best known song Love Is All Around which was number one for most of the 90s in a decade of ballads, along with Everything I Do (I Do It For You) and I Will Always Love You. A special hats off to the sound engineer who has managed to get one of the best sound mixes in the oversized tent, fantastic job.
The sands of time have certainly been kind to Wet Wet Wet, who are performing better than ever and writing material of equivalent standard to their earlier work and we've much more great things to come from the Scottish band, it's written in the wind...