#SoPop

Ever wanted to relive your teenage years? Well we did when we attended the So Pop concert in Melbourne.

I am forever trolling through Facebook, Weekend Notes, Concrete Playground and other websites looking for new and exciting things to do each weekend. Facebook is great at recommending things to do and when I came across the advert for the So Pop concert, I was totally there.

My best friend, Lauren and I became friends in Year 7 in the 1990's, and we've been best friends ever since. She was the one who was witness to all my atrocious dance moves, and saw me in all my unfashionable glory (tencel jeans, butterfly hair clips and Dr Martens anyone?).

Since then I'm glad to say my fashion sense has improved (although unfortunately my dance moves have not).

With that in mind though, Lauren and I decided that So Pop was going to be too much fun to miss, so we bought reserved seating tickets for the show at Melbourne Arena. (Fun fact: apparently Melbourne Arena is the new name of what used to be Hisense Arena, so we had a little trouble at first working out where exactly we were going!)

Tickets were not cheap, with each of us paying $135 for reserved seating. What I will say though, is that no matter where your seats were in the stadium, everyone had a great view.

It was a very long day with the entertainment starting at 5pm and finishing at about 10pm - there were a LOT of acts to get through. Here's what the set times looked like:

It was a really hot day, reaching 35C or 36C at about 5pm, and I'll tell you now, I do not do well in the heat. We decided to catch the train into the city because the chances of finding parking with so many other events on at the same time meant parking would be scarce (Phil Collins was playing across the street). We got off the train at Richmond station at about 4pm with the idea of getting something to eat first on Swan St before heading across to the show.

There are so many places to eat in Richmond that it's easy to get overwhelmed with the choices, but when you're melting from the heat and have a best friend who's doing nothing but complaining about how they're melting from the heat, then making a quick decision on a place that has air con is a no-brainer. With that in mind, Lauren ushered me straight into the first restaurant we could find with spare tables and air con - Hanoi Hannah.

I've never been to Hanoi Hannah but apparently it's a very well known spot and very popular, and we understood why as soon as our food arrived. We'd ordered the Peking duck rice paper rolls, the salt and pepper calamari and the braised sticky lamb ribs (which were quite spicy). The rice paper rolls were about $10 and the other two dishes about $17 each. We thought about getting cocktails (since we weren't driving) but the only downside of the restaurant was that the cocktails were really expensive (about $20 per drink). The food was fantastic though and we both highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Asian food.

After we'd finished eating and were waiting for our stomachs to settle, I was checking the Facebook feed for the concert to see what was happening. Unfortunately things did not start off well. Many people were commenting that the doors hadn't been opened yet, they were all stuck outside in the boiling heat and that the bands had already started but they couldn't get in. I think this mostly related to those people who had purchased general admission tickets as they had to line up to be given wristbands (and apparently there were way too few people giving them out). In addition to this, security were checking bags on entry and everyone was wanded with a metal detector which added to the delay.

Eventually it seemed to calm down and Lauren and I headed off to join the masses. Luckily there was a tram stop directly out the front of the restaurant so we jumped on and rode the half dozen stops to Melbourne Arena. As we had reserved seating tickets, we were able to get in straight away without delay.

The acts were all phenomenal and took us right back to our high school days and the underage discos we all attended. One thing that seemed to be a rule for all the acts was that they all were dressed exactly like they were back in their hey-day. Everyone was the picture of 90s pop culture and fashion (it was hilarious in some instances). It was also surprising just how little some of them have changed, despite it being 20 years later!

I won't give you a rundown of every song that every band played, but here are the highlights:

The Outhere Brothers played a number of the their hits including Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle), and Boom Boom Boom.

Lou Bega of course had the hit Mambo No. 5 that had every Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Mary and Jessica bopping along to the words. He hardly looks like he's aged and he was wearing his trademark suit and hat.

Eiffel 65 had the song of the 90s that had everyone arguing about what the real words to the song were. Blue (Da Ba Dee) was released in 1999 and for months people were arguing about what the words really were (FYI - it's "da ba dee, da ba daa"). Their other well known hit was Move Your Body which had the crowd up on its feet as well.

Next it was time for one of my absolute favourite bands of the 90s - B*witched! This Irish girl group sold over 3 million albums and had some of the biggest hits of the 90s, including Rollercoaster, To You I Belong, Weatherman and of course the iconic C'est La Vie (side note - this is the song I was dancing to at the Commonwealth Games when I sprained my ankle). These girls put on a great show and it was so great to see them live.


Blue were up next and their two biggest songs were All Rise (released in 2001) and One Love (released in 2002). They may not technically have been from the 90s, but close enough right?


Then it was time to head over to Ibiza with the Vengaboys! This pop group know how to have fun and it was obvious on stage that they were having a blast, which in turn meant the audience was having a blast too. They had so much energy and with a long list of well known songs, the crowd were singing along at the top of our lungs to classics such as Boom Boom Boom Boom, We're Going to Ibiza, Shalala Lala, and of course We Like To Party.

Let me just say that they looked pretty much exactly like this on stage. They had the most ridiculous outfits on and it was perfection! There was the demented looking cowboy, the dominatrix, the sailor and I dunno what the heck the blonde woman was supposed to be but it was all a visual extravaganza!

Finally we were down to the last act and it was the biggest one of the night - AQUA! This three person group (it was originally four) came out on stage and they were brilliant from the first song. Vocalists Lene Nystrøm and René Dif were both fantastic on stage and they sounded exactly like they do on their albums from so many years ago.

Their most famous songs include Roses Are Red, My Oh My, Lollipop (Candyman), Doctor Jones, Turn Back Time, and of course the iconic Barbie Girl. I wish I'd managed to get a good photo but I was too caught up in dancing and singing to remember so here's a quick pic of what they look like these days. Lene had the most fantastic costumes on stage including a full length body suit that showed off an incredible figure.

By the end of the night my feet were sore, I was losing my voice and I had a slew of 90s pop songs running on a loop in my head. It was glorious! The crowd was really well behaved and everyone seemed to have a great time, including Lauren and I.

Until next time,

Nat x