Review + Photography by Jessica Stone

On a high from their 20th anniversary ‘Party on the Dancefloor’ arena tour at the end of 2017, Steps are back! The pop quintet kicked off the summer of Steps tour in Cheltenham, bringing along 2016 X factor runner up Saara Aalto and Brit award winning 2000’s boy band Blue.

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With doors open early and an exclusive meet a great for those lucky enough to have grabbed a VIP ticket, there were already hundreds of people streaming into Cheltenham Town Football Club’s first ever concert by the time we arrived. After securing a spot that would allow us to both see and dance we settled in for what we expected to be a long wait for someone to come on stage, but to our surprise around an hour earlier than advertised we were treated to a short set from ‘Power of Music’. The set included some of their original songs punctuated with sing-along hits.

Next up was Saara Aalto. The Finnish singer took at the stage with two male dancers for a 45 minute set that included her 2018 Eurovision entry ‘Monsters’. Slowing it down half way through to just her and her keyboard, Saara referenced her time on The X-Factor by signing Abba Classic ‘The Winner Takes It All’, before stripping off her military style jacket to reveal her love for Steps on her top!

Saara Aalto

Picking the tempo back up Saara finished her set on a high signing the title track from her new album ‘Wild Wild Wonderland’.

With less than half an hour to go, the crowd, composed mostly of women in their 30s, were getting very excited for Blue. Finally it was time, and with screams of “I LOVE YOU, DUNCAN!” coming from somewhere behind me, Blue took to the stage with a slight false start, that only served to make the crowd more excited for opening track ‘All rise’.

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Storming through their hour long set that included nearly every single they released, including their 2011 Eurovision entry ‘I can’ – tying them in nicely with the subtle theme of the evening! With some surprisingly impressive vocals the set flew by and before we knew it we were singing along to ‘One Love’ and it was time to say goodbye to Blue.

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A short while later, the stage filled with dancers waving pink and purple flags. The sound of drums filled the stadium. The fiesta was about to start!

Steps appeared from on the stage having been concealed with the colourful flags and launched straight into ‘Summer of Love’. The high energy and dancing continued, and the crowd didn’t have to wait long until the band donned sliver fringed jackets for ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ – which H pointed out was the bands first single 21 years ago! The whole crowd joined in with the famous dance routine and that’s it, everyone was lost in the music (and dancing!).

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It wasn’t long before a quick costume change into doctor and nurse outfits behind some hospital screens and it was time for ‘Chain reaction’, a cover of the classic Diana Ross song that earned them a No.2 in the charts back on 2001. A little later in the set the dancers came on stage in sliver all in one suits, and disco balls on their heads dancing to Abba’s ‘Voulez Vous’. Allowing for Steps to have a little longer to change costumes again. The next 6 songs included an impressive medley; covering everything from The first album ‘Step One’ right through to ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’ uniting both old and new Steps fans.

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After just over an hour of being on stage, Steps were waving goodbye and thanking everyone for coming out to the first night of the tour. The crowd continued to cheer while we waited for the final costume change of the night – just in time for ‘Deeper Shade of Blue’, finishing off the set was 1998 single ‘One for Sorrow’ which saw everyone in the crowd joining in the moves. One more set of goodbyes and thanks yous and Steps left the stage.

We knew it was coming.

We weren’t leaving until we heard it.

It was what everyone was waiting for.

TRAGEDY!!! Complete with the dance routine, a brilliant way to end a high energy set.

 If you’re a child of the 90’s and enjoy a bit of cheesy pop it is an amazing night out, and you won’t be disappointed. Steps both sound and look better than they did the first time around, and you certainly won’t be out of place if you still remember all the dance moves!

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Setlist: 

Summer of love
 / better the devil you know / 5,6,7,8
 / Say you’ll be mine
 / The way that you make me feel
 / Chain reaction / 
Heartbeat
 / Stomp
 / Glitter and gold
 / No more tears on the dancefloor
 / Better best forgotten 
Last thing on my mind 
/ Neon Blue
 / Love U more
 / You’ll be sorry / 
After the love has gone
 / Love’s got a hold of my heart / 

Deeper shade of blue
 / One for sorrow / 

Tragedy

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