Viva Forever?

Chris Azzopardi

Steven Wooder can't say he'll be there. Which means no zig-a-zig-ahhh-ing for the 43-year-old Mount Clemens man when the Spice Girls drown Detroit in girl power during their reunion tour. Well, unless he puts his mom on the market. "(I) told my mother to watch her back, as I would sell her online to get tickets," jokes Wooder, a die-hard Spice fan.
She'd better be worth 122 smackers. That's the top ticket price to see the fun-loving quintet – Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary and Sporty Spice – be-bop around the stage and sing cheeky concoctions at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

"I find it amazing that a group that broke up almost seven or eight years ago got back together on a whim," says DJ Mark, who plays retro jams at the Necto nightclub in Ann Arbor on Fridays. "And it pretty much exploded into a worldwide event."
But why?
DJ Jace, who also spins there every Friday, recently played a Spice Girls megamix.
"People went nuts," he says, adding gay guys are attracted to the British pop sound. Mark agrees. As a diehard Kylie Minogue and Spice Girls fan, Mark knows that any happy-go-lucky nugget from the UK group will fill the floor. Mark, who's attending their upcoming show and already knows the set-list, says European music, like recent phenomenon Mika, is a sure-fire winner with gay crowds.
It's fun. It's light. It's frothy. And, he says, American music is typically country, rock or rap. He won't admit, however, that they're talented.
"They're more business-savvy," he says instead.
Chris Hall of Canton won't even give them that. He's already seen parts of the show. On YouTube. "(The Spice Girls are) like a plague or something," the 22-year-old student says. "Spice Girls represent something very superficial in the gay community; it's all about looks and about how you portray yourself. It's a gimmick."
He chides them for their wretched warbling, but mostly for the way they move about the stage, strutting and posing like the stage is a fashion runway.
"It makes no sense to have a reunion tour. They broke up," says Hall, who admits to being a hardcore fan of Britney Spears, who's made headlines lately for her loopiness, and not her music. "It's all about money, and obviously someone is broke."
After recently releasing "Greatest Hits," which includes new single "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)," the girls regrouped in December to relive the bubblegum '90s for fans who decided to pour out their piggy banks to witness a rare, breezy 85-minute romp.
"I'd wrongly assumed that the night would be an event on par with a Madonna or Cher show, one that would rally equal numbers of women and gay men in support of the cause. But it didn't. And it didn't in a big big way. My gays and I were little specks of male flotsam on a giant lady-ocean," wrote MSNBC critic Dave White, who dodged drunken women at the gals' Los Angeles show.
What should Michiganders expect? Now-of-age sloshed hipsters screaming themselves hoarse. Gays flailing their arms like they're about to slap hands with Baby Spice. Chicks grinding with their girlfriends. All the while, Steven Wooder will wish someone would've bought his mother. The good news for him: He still has time to sell her.
Though the Palace couldn't release the number of open seats at the Spice Girls' Michigan show, mid-ranged priced tickets ($92) were still available at press time. Ho-hum turnouts on the tour – and possibly personal issues – led the group to drop dates in Australia, China, South Africa and Argentina, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Wooder's fan-status, though, won't wane. He owns all three of their albums. Adores bouncing to the buoyant "Stop!" And, for a while, he used a "Wannabe" clip on his answering machine: "Tell me what you want, what you really, really want … I want you to leave your name and number after the beep."
Also, like the Spice Girls' nicknames, Wooder has one of his own: Old Spice, a label his friends gave him – though, he prefers Sexy Spice. From made-up names to bright, kitschy costumes, that's the joy of life in Spice World, Wooder adds: It's like living in Candyland.
"Nothing (is) too serious in the World of Spice," he says. "Life (is) a party – and everyone (is) invited."

Spice Girls
8 p.m. Feb. 16
The Palace of Auburn Hills


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