With an accompanying "access all areas" television series, S Club's Carnival
2002 tour was billed as a defining moment of live music to match Lollapalooza. From the opening sequence of seven warrior drummers marching from the auditorium on to the stage, to the walkway that hovers precariously over the heads of the audience, the show clearly has enormous aspirations. Assisted by stunning stage projections, colourful dance routines and costumes, the seven singers successfully manage to conjure up what the title promises: a flaming hot fiesta. Apart from the inclusion of selected tracks from their third album Sunshine
, the show differs little from their previous nationwide tour, with favourites such as "S Club Party", "Bring It All Back" and "Reach" all getting priority billing in the show. In a belated acknowledgement to all the mums and dads in the audience, Jon performs a powered-up rendition of Beatles classic "The Long and Winding Road", and the show ends with a pumping medley of 1970s and 80s party hits. The Carnival show may not go down in the history books as one of the defining moments of 21st century popular culture, but it's certainly a spectacular which deserves to be remembered (well, in the short-term at least).
On the DVD: Carnival on disc has glossy and colourful visuals, just like the photos in the teen magazines S Club regularly front. The material is occasionally spoilt by cheap-looking visual effects, which would not look out of place on a 1980s edition of Top of the Pops. The 5.1 Stereo soundtrack, though, is excellent and successfully recreates the dynamism of the concert. The bonus features are an improvement on previous S Club DVD releases but not particularly original (an episode from the tour TV series Don't Stop Movin' and a lacklustre picture gallery). --John Galilee