You don’t have to be a seven-year-old with pink deeley-boppers in your hair to like Little Mix.
Granted, music fans who aren’t old enough to drive make up their core crowd, but the band’s recent shift in sound, which has seen them team up with the likes of Stormzy and rapper Machine Gun Kelly, has seen them bring some older Mixers into the fold.
Last time I saw them live was in their spin-off Summer Shout Out outdoor tour in July at Durham County Cricket Club which proved a damp squib. Though you couldn’t fault the girls’ vocals and energy, they were let down by lack lustre staging.
Last night’s gig, part of the main Glory Days world tour, however, was a different ball game altogether. Shimmering costumes of giant fluffy angel wings, showgirl-style basques and knee high sparkley boots that would have left the front row needing sunglasses were anything but lack lustre. Giant screens projected nifty graphics, ranging from Manga-inspired images to sultry silhouettes, while a walkway that extended into the crowd gave everyone a better view of their idols - this was more like it!
Though the mammoth world tour is in support of their fourth studio album, there was plenty of old favourites in there, innocent ditties such as Wings, through to their more recent tracks which have a grittier edge such as DNA through to Sad Songs, Touch and Power.
And though some of their latest material is a little sexier than you’d expect from a girl group with such young fans, it was delivered innocently enough with the girls pulling silly faces at the cameras.
Indeed, there was plenty of interaction that got the little ones squealing in delight, including a synchronised hair whip, filmed by Leigh-Anne, that was like a diva’s version of a Mexican wave.
It was local lasses Perrie and Jade who got the loudest cheers, of course. The Sanddancers seemed genuinely delighted to be on the stage of a venue they no doubt visited when they were young girls with stars in their eyes.
Despite their multi-million record sales and global success, they still seem in touch with their roots and Jade spoke of how chuffed she was to go home and eat mince and dumplings made by her mam, while Perrie led a sing-a-long of Happy Birthday to her little sister Caitlin who was in the crowd.
After an hour and a half of hits, the girls came on for a foot-stomping encore of Shout Out To My Ex which had a sold-out arena singing along in unison - even if half of them have never even had an Ex.
We all left the arena on a high note, even if I did walk away with a crick in my 30-odd-year-old neck from that hair flick.