Mel C's happy to be here in the sun

By Roger Moroney

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Mel C relaxing yesterday in the Hawke's Bay sun which is forecast to bless the Mission Concert tomorrow. Photo / Paul Taylor
Mel C relaxing yesterday in the Hawke's Bay sun which is forecast to bless the Mission Concert tomorrow. Photo / Paul Taylor

For Mission Concert star Mel C it is nice to see blue skies and dry ground - and she is fizzing about taking the big stage tomorrow night.

The former Sporty Spice lives about an hour out of London and said the relentless rain which had flooded much of the south of England in the past few weeks had been "pretty bad".

Travelling to a place like Hawke's Bay in summer was one of the real "highs" of a musical business which could have its ups and downs, she said.

Her only previous time in New Zealand was passing through Auckland International Airport on the way home from a tour of Australia.

"So I've finally made it onto the ground. It's quite a daunting journey from the UK and it's so nice to be here - I'm taking it all in."

As keen on fitness as she is on music (she has taken part in several triathlons), Mel C she said part of "taking it all in" would involve simply going for a few walks and runs in the short time she was here.

She flies out on Sunday.

"My mummy duties await me," she said, adding that daughter Scarlett's fifth birthday was only a week away.

She recently celebrated her own birthday, her 40th, with a large group of friends at a concert at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

"A lot of friends came up on the stage to join me - and of course we all partied until dawn."

After working in with the orchestra set to provide the backing she has settled on about six numbers, including the cover of a Joni Mitchell song as well as a duet with another star of the line-up, Ronan Keating.

"I'm really excited about getting out there to perform with the orchestra."

Getting together with Keating, Sharon Corr, Billy Ocean and Leo Sayer was like a cheerful reunion as she had come across them all at some stage of her career.

The stars of the show will be performing to a smaller-than-hoped-for crowd which Sport and Entertainment Ltd special events and entertainment manager Garry Craft said was "a sign of the times".

"There is a lot going on and a lot of events are in the same boat."

The concert will coincide with the sold-out inaugural League Nines tournament in Auckland as well as the Eminem concert at Western Springs tomorrow night.

The Sol3 Mio concert, with special guest Dame Malvina Major, is also being staged at Black Barn tomorrow night.

Mr Craft said an upside was that the event would be more spacious for the audience.

"It will be a lot easier for people to get around and they are going to see a fantastic show."

As well as performing with the 72-piece Marc Taddei-conducted Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the artists will also have the backing of the band which has been touring with John Farnham.

"These are the best people and the arrangements are terrific," Mr Craft said.

The warm-up acts will get under way from 3.30pm with 30-minute breaks between them to allow people to get up to get refreshments or move around.

The UK and Irish Invasion Show gets under way at 8pm. The five stars would all step out to do one song, one after another, and then return later to roll out their full sets.

While the concert was scheduled to close at 10.30pm, he said it was likely to be closer to 11pm as the artists had such extensive and well-known song lists.

"The song line-up is just fantastic," Mr Craft said.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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