Girls Aloud promise ‘magic’ reunion – but say tour will ‘never be the same’ without Sarah

Girls Aloud have said their shows will “never be the same” without bandmate Sarah Harding – but they will make their reunion shows “magic” in her memory.

In an emotional interview with Sky News, speaking about their newly announced plans for a 15-date arena tour in 2024, Cheryl, Kimberley, Nadine and Nicola said there will undoutedly be emotional struggles on stage as they perform without Harding, who died from breast cancer in September 2021, for the first time.

“It will never be the same again, we accept that,” says Cheryl, “but we’re going to make a new type of sparkle with her in it.”

Singer Sarah Harding from British band Girls Aloud the Brit Awards 2009 ceremony at Earls Court exhibition centre in London, England, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/MJ Kim)
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding died in 2021. Pic: AP/MJ Kim

The stars have said their performances, which mark 21 years since they first formed, will be dedicated to Harding.

“You’re reminded so constantly that she isn’t here,” says Nadine. “She is very much a part of who we are still, a huge part.”

Girls Aloud - (L-R) Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle - have announced a reunion tour of the UK and Ireland in May and June 2024 to mark 21 years since they first formed
Girls Aloud are back: (L-R) Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle

One of the strangest things, according to Cheryl, has been announcing the news of the tour to press, pausing during interviews at times when Harding would have made jokes.

“Some of the questions we get asked… there are moments like that all day, she’s never far from us.”

‘The fans have lost Sarah as well’

Girls Aloud won the Brit award for best single in 2009, for The Promise. Sarah Harding described it as one of the biggest moments of her life
Pictured at the Brits in 2009

Rearranging songs to perform for the much-anticipated tour, they know won’t be easy. Harding was an integral part of their harmonies.

“Fans have lost Sarah as well,” says Nicola. “It’s going to be strange for them to see us as a four, it’s going to be strange for us to be a four, but, well, we’ve got to take it one day at a time. We’re going to make it magic for her.”

While the planning of who will sing which lines won’t officially get under way until the New Year, Cheryl says there will be tears once they get back in a rehearsal room.

Read more:
Sarah Harding obituary
Girls Aloud star’s life in pictures

“When we initially start looking at what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, how we’re going to sing the song and what that looks like, we’ll have to get all our emotion out then, so we can be strong for the fans.”

“There will be times, I’m sure, that we struggle,” adds Kimberley. “But that’s another great thing about having each other. Hopefully we don’t all struggle at the same time.”

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts

At a time when music was dominated by male indie bands, Girls Aloud shook up the noughties with a raucous energy, producing some of the best pop singles of the 21st Century, including Love Machine, No Good Advice, Biology, Call The Shots and The Promise – and of course their debut, Sound Of The Underground.

After the band originally formed on ITV reality show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, they quickly became tabloid fixtures. Dealing with fame and the paparazzi was a traumatic experience for the then teenagers.

“We were children,” says Nadine. “And these are grown men, lying down on the floor as you step out of a car.”

“We were 16, 17 years old,” adds Kimberley. “So wrong.”

Something Kinda Ooooh: Celebrating the legacy

They say they had little choice but to learn to ignore the frenzied level of interest in their personal lives.

This time around, after an 11-year break, the tour will be a chance for their own children to now understand what their mums are famous for.

“It’s going to blow their brains!” says Cheryl.

As for Glastonbury rumours, the band insist they haven’t been asked. They also deny tabloid claims that a new album is planned.

“That’s not what this is about,” Kimberley says. “It’s definitely about celebrating the legacy.”

“Ooh, I like that word,” Cheryl chips in. “Legacy!”

Before Kimberley can question whether what she’s said sounds too grand, Cheryl proudly confirms: “We’ve earned it, two decades in!”

Twenty-one years after the start of it all, I put it to the band that their back catalogue of insanely catchy pop has aged incredibly well.

“A bit like ourselves!” quips Nadine, causing her bandmates to errupt into laughter.

They’ve been through a lot.

While tears on tour seem inevitable, as a band they are determined not to lose that sense of joy and silliness – making sure they give it everything “to celebrate Sarah”.

Articles You May Like

King says ‘wonderful messages and cards’ since cancer diagnosis have ‘reduced me to tears’
PFL pool for 2024 to include Carmouche, Davis
Biagi Bros. posts pictures of its ten (10!) Nikola hydrogen semis
Two Britons who nearly died fighting in Ukraine reveal why they have returned to war zone
‘They are struggling in every way’: The orphaned and disabled children forced to flee fighting in Sudan