Jo O’Meara & Jon Lee speak with Manchester Evening News ahead of ‘Good Times’ debut
Jon Lee and Jo O’Meara of S Club have spoke with MEN in the weeks leading up to the debut of The Good Times Tour! See what the duo have to say!
When S Club 7 last performed in Manchester eight years ago, all seven members finished up the show with a rousing sing-a-long of their legendary hit Don’t Stop Movin’ in front of tens of thousands of devoted fans.
Sadly, it would be the last time all seven members would be on stage in Manchester together. Paul Cattermole, who was a part of the band from its inception in 1998 up until 2002, sadly passed away from underlying heart conditions just months after the band announced plans for their comeback tour earlier this year.
Following his tragic passing, fellow bandmate later Hannah Spearritt announced she would no longer be taking part in the 14-date tour, which will kick off in Manchester at the AO Arena on October 12 (tickets here) before returning to the city for a sold out show on October 21.
Speaking to the M.E.N ahead of the tour, members Jo O’Meara and Jon Lee said the band’s initial plans for how the show was going to look have now been scrapped altogether in order to turn the tour into a celebration of Paul’s life and the ‘good times’ the band shared over the years.
“We’re going to be honouring Paul throughout the entire tour,” Jo, 44, explains of the upcoming five-piece show. “Renaming it the Good Times tour was just a no-brainer for us and It just seemed like the right thing for us to do.
“Paul was going to sing that song on the tour – he had it all planned out how he was going to perform it with his guitar. It is just the ideal name for the tour.
“S Club has always been about positivity and being upbeat so it’s going to be more about celebrating Paul’s life in a really uplifting way but it is definitely going to feel like Paul is there with us on stage, for sure.”
Jon, 41, added: “We’re also going to be dedicating the first night in Manchester to the British Heart Foundation as Paul died of underlying heart conditions that he wasn’t aware of. We’re going to be working with them throughout the tour and hopefully into next year to try and raise awareness.
“It’ll be emotional but we want to make it a celebration of 25 years of S Club. It’s no mean feat to still be around after 25 years so it will be a chance for us all to really honour everything that we’ve worked so hard on over those years.”
Having released four albums and 14 singles, the pair admit the band had a difficult task deciding which songs would make it onto the set list – especially as a number of S Club’s album tracks also became popular through their inclusion on the band’s hit CBBC shows Miami 7, L.A 7 and Hollywood 7.
But, fear not, the likes of Bring It All Back, Reach, Don’t Stop Movin’ and Never Had A Dream Come True are all set to be performed.
“There’s a few songs that we’ll be performing for the first time because the fans have asked for them,” Jon explains. “They’re finally going to get to hear some of those songs live on stage. We’re very fortunate in the sense that we have a back catalogue that everyone knows so well.”
Jo adds: “We’ve taken on board what the fans have said and tried to narrow them down but how lucky are we to be in a position where we have to cut songs? That’s a very privileged position to be in, so we’ll be picking the best to ensure we get the right mix.”
Jo and Jon say the band are extremely excited to be opening the tour in Manchester – having had fond memories of performing in the city over the span of their career.
“I don’t think we could have started off in a better place,” Jo says. “It’s scary because it’s one of the biggest audiences but the reaction we’ve always had from Manchester is just so energetic. Our Manchester fans are just loud, which is what we want – the louder the better.”
Jon adds: “Manchester has always been one of our favourite places to play. When you’re standing there and you have tens of thousands of people screaming and singing along with you, the energy is unreal.”
In July, S Club released These Are the Days – their first single in 20 years. Made alongside a number of songwriters and producers the band has previously worked with, the song’s video featured the group looking through photographs and memories throughout their time as a seven-piece.
The track received such a positive reaction from fans that the band say they are now contemplating working on more music.
“It was lovely to get back into the studio together,” Jo explained. “These Are The Days was just the perfect song for us – it felt right. We were all very happy to see the fans react so well to it.
Jon added: “We’re just mainly focusing on the tour at the moment but we’re listening to the fans and we’re all up for making more music. When we get the time to record new music, we will.”
And, speaking of getting back in the studio and rehearsal room together, Jo said: “It’s been really nice. I think the special thing about S Club in general is that it doesn’t matter how much time passes, it’s literally like stepping into a time machine – you just pick up where you left things, with the same kind of jokes with each other.
“it’s lovely for us all to get back together and we can’t wait to see the fans again.”