The Big Reunion has been one of the big TV hits of the year so far and whoever thought up the idea at ITV must be giving themselves a pat on the back. It was announced late last year that six pop groups from the 90s and early noughties would be getting back together for a one night live show. 5ive, Atomic Kitten, 911, Honeyz, Liberty X and B*Witched were all confirmed for the show and the buzz began to build. When the show first aired viewers tuned in with a mix of intrigue and scepticism but it seems the show won over the nation. It’s been so successful that the one-off live show has now led to two arena tours over the course of the year.
The original plan though was to give the six groups the opportunity to bury the hatchet (which they all needed to do) and perform one last time to a sold-out audience. As the show picked up steam Blue were late additions to the line-up, much to the dismay of some of the other groups, and the live date sold out in minutes. This DVD release captures the live show at Hammersmith Apollo but can the groups repeat the magic from their original success?
We have to admit we were a little sceptical when the show first aired but we’ve been hooked. Each week focused on different groups giving us the warts and all story behind the break-ups. Each group had a lot of history to get past and it’s been fascinating to see them learning to work with one another again. We were prepared for the live show to be a hot mess but it’s actually a stroke of pure genius.
First things first, it’s clear that all of the groups were nervous as they performed and this slightly spoils the wow factor. There are some dodgy vocals from all of the groups but for the most part they manage to pull it together. Each group takes it in turn to come out onto the stage and perform one of their hits with video screens and Andi Peters bridging the gaps between performances. 5ive kick things off and it feels like we’re back in the 90s with girls screaming as the four (not five) lads perform their first number of the evening; a mash-up of We Will Rock You/Everybody Get Up.
There’s something incredibly nostalgic about seeing all these pop groups performing together again. The group that fares the best are Honeyz, which is amazing considering the current line-up were never all in the group at the same time the first time round. Celena, Mariama and Heavenli steal the show as they perform their hits Won’t Take It Lying Down, Love of A Lifetime/End of the Line and Finally Found. Other highlights include the Irish dancing in B*Witched’s C’est La Vie, 911’s incredibly energetic performance of Bodyshakin’ and Blue’s working the crowd with One Love. Liberty X are guilty of the shakiest vocals but it’s fun to watch them performing Just A Little once again.
All eyes were on Atomic Kitten on the night as we all wondered if Kerry Katona could manage to get through the whole show. She wasn’t in the original group for very long but has returned instead of her replacement Jenny Frost (who is busy having kids). She gets the biggest cheers during the performance and is clearly overwhelmed by the reaction she gets. Vocally she surprises, especially as we’d almost forgotten she was ever a popstar, and she keeps up with bandmates Liz and Natasha.
The Kittens bring the show to a close with their number one smash Whole Again before all the groups return to sing with them. It all gets very emotional and it’s clear that all of the groups are relieved that they got through the show given the frantic lead –up to it.
Extras on the disc include a series of featurettes taking you behind-the-scenes as the group’s rehearse in preparation for the gig.
The Big Reunion will most likely return with more pop bands next year seeing as the debut run has been such a hit. It’s unbelievable just how well it’s done and how many people have flocked to buy tickets to see their old favourite pop groups live once again. The Big Reunion Live is a great show packed with nostalgia and we loved watching it. Roll on the arena tours later in the year then it’ll be interesting to see which groups try to reclaim their former chart glory.