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Live Review: So Pop

4 February 2019 | 5:36 pm | Brendan Delavere

"More than just '90s kids remember the '90s."

A sizeable crowd had already begun flooding their way towards Qudos Bank Arena when doors opened for So Pop, despite it being before clock off time, decked in all the colours of the neon rainbow. 

Nick Skitz was busy getting the earlybirds down and dirty, spinning every #1 '90s dance hit, a small taste of what tonight was all about, a celebration of '90s dance and pop. 

First act of this mega bill tonight, US hip hop duo Outhere Brothers shook the room with their hit song Boom Boom Boom, and made for some booty-shaking action with Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)

Thanks to So Pop's short sets and short changeovers, before long Mr Lou Bega was dancing his way into our dreams. The Mambo No 5 crooner and certified sex bomb treated us to a very sexy tongue-in-cheek set, performing I Got A Girl and a much more recent single Sweet Like Cola, with bikini-clad dancers joining the fedora- and summer-suited singer for the massive singalong we all knew was coming.

Purveyors of Euro club bangers 2 Unlimited brought the Amsterdam dance scene to Sydney - “Techno techno techno” is what it’s all about. Wearing white tracksuits and shoulder pads, Ray Slijngaard and Anita Doth took it to the limits of Euro electro, then No Limit pushed it that little bit further.

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The short changeovers between sets also saw other '90s legends in Cheez TV’s Jade Gatt and Ryan Lappin returning to hosting duties, with awkward dance-offs, cheesy competitions for fans to go backstage and whole lot of excited yelling.

Looking like they just got out of bed, Italian enigma Eiffel 65 sported a pair of tracky dacks on stage. The crowd were rabid to hear all the massive singles. After the band opened with Lucky (In My Life) and cannons, the crowd waited patiently and excitedly. A surprise tribute to Avicii saw the crowd get up and take notice, before those familiar notes of Blue with its refrain of "Da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa" saw every phone held high on record.

There was barely a spare moment to head to the bar before Irish girl group B*Witched graced the stage. Bathed in the warm glow of the spotlight, with Keavy Lynch and Lindsay Armaou unable to make the trip Down Under, the two remaining original members, Sinéad O'Carroll and Edele Lynch lead the four-piece in choreography, albeit not entirely in sync at times. They performed Rollercoaster with its ups and downs and infectious fun nature, while Blame It On The Weatherman saw the ladies dancing in the rain with umbrellas. A medley of ABBA classics mixed things up a bit before the band closed with everyone’s favourite C’est La Vie.

Though never attaining the kind of fame as other boy bands in Australia, English quartet Blue were able to grasp the crowd in the palm of their hands. Girls screamed and swooned – even this reviewer was feeling a little hot under the collar for a moment there. Choreography was down to a tee for these fellas, gyrating, moving and grooving across the open stage. One Love, U Make Me Wanna and All Rise were dancetastic numbers. When Simon Webbe got a little to close to a Co2 cannon, which knocked him backwards and caused him to lose his hat, the singer laughed off the unexpected incident.

“We are the Vengaboys and we represent cheesy Eurotrash pop music!” Cheesy, yes, trash, definitely not. The Vengaboys are fun, incredibly fun, and with the packed-out floor screaming, it was plain to see that the multiplatinum-selling pop stars are still loved after more than two decades. Opening with the Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling the dance party was in full swing – We’re Going To Ibiza featured an unplugged ukelele, while the super fun Shalala Lala set the standard for the rest of the set.

A new song that is inherently “Australia’s favourite thing to do”, I Wanna Get Drunk kicked off the first of four bursts of confetti and streamers. The #1 party anthem, We Like To Party saw dozens of inflatable balls being kicked about the arena, and closing hit single Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!! saw the last of the streamers explode across the crowd, with every phone light held high. The Vengaboys might be cheesy but Australia loves them.

One final mix up from Nick Skitz and moments later the biggest pop act from the late '90s, Aqua, bounded onto the stage. The audience went positively gaga for Lene Nystrøm and René Dif as they bounced into opener Around The World

Wearing thigh-high boots and a coat over the top of a one-piece, Nystrøm owned that stage. Playing Barbie Girl early on in the set may have weeded out the casual fans, but that’s what this show is all about: massive singles and one-hit wonders from the '90s and '00s. Doctor Jones, Turn Back Time, Cartoon Heroes, we know every word to every song and we sing it back to the pair playing off each other stage, being cheeky and poking their tongues out at each other between lines.

Many punters chose to leave before the set ended to beat the traffic, having had their fill of pop classics, as Aqua closed with Lollipop (Candyman) and the slower track Roses Are Red. In those closing moments, it’s plain to see that more than just '90s kids remember the '90s.