Newmarket: 5ive’s Scott and Abz and Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton interviewed
- Credit: Archant
5ive, Blue and Liberty X drop by Newmarket Racecourses this Friday for its Big Pop Party. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage caught up with 5ive’s Scott Robinson and Abz Love and Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton.
“This has been a bit of a whirlwind for us... the whole reunion show, going on tour, these racecourse events; it’s amazing and to be headlining it as well is fantastic. We’re really looking forward to it,” says Scott, who’s more of a poker man but might be tempted to have a flutter if anybody’s got a good tip.
Taking part in the ITV smash show The Big Reunion was definitely a gamble, he adds, but a gamble worth taking.
“It was a big show on a big channel; it had weight behind it. We were very happy to be a part of it and we’ve come out the other side very well, we’re thankful for that.
“It was (emotional) for me personally; having a wife, two children and living a really normal life until this point. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but the weird thing about it is it feels quite normal for me again. For the kids (Brennan, 11, who’s liking the attention he’s got at school and Kavan, six, who thinks dad’s dance routines are cool) to see me on the big stage for the first time ever it’s an amazing experience for them.”
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Missing from the line-up is J Brown, who decided not to take part in the reunion.
“That’s his decision and, to be honest with you, it’s going swimmingly so we’re not too worried. Everyone has embraced it; even though we’re called 5ive and there’s only four of us (Scott, Abz, Sean Conlon and Ritchie Neville) that’s not been a problem. Hopefully that will continue,” says Scott, who still lives in Essex.
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“We’re respecting (J’s decision). Maybe we would be begging him back if it felt broken or we were on stage and it felt like there was something (missing). It doesn’t, it’s still going really well and we’re enjoying it so it doesn’t matter too much.”
The reformed foursome say they’ll continue as long as everybody wants them to but are taking everything one day at a time. If the public want them to write new music they’ll think about it.
“At the moment we’re looking in front of our face, seeing what’s next on the calendar; we’re not getting too over excited just in case it doesn’t happen.”
For Abz, getting back together was a no-brainer.
“We’ve been away for 13, 14 years, whatever it is; to get offered the opportunity to come back, have all that exposure and catch people up with where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing in our lives, man it was a beautiful plan. I don’t think any one of us could have said no.”
“I think he’s happy where he is man, that’s all you can say really. If you’re happy and you don’t need nothing from life... when where you are in life is satisfying all your needs and desires what can you say, you can’t force somebody.”
Abz says the show was set up perfectly and the response has been amazing. He’s so pleased everybody has accepted them again.
“We’re not taking it for granted this time... we’ve been humbled by the response we’ve had from everybody, it’s just pure and great to get together again and shows like Newmarket are great because it’s an audience we don’t reach usually.”
The Big Reunion wasn’t just a chance to catch up with their fans, but with each other.
Abz had seen Scott on and off, then more as they decided to do little shows together. He hadn’t seen Sean, Ritchie or J for 10 years; they were just living life after moving off down the different paths life laid out for them until ITV came knocking.
“It (the reunion) was all on camera, there was no pre-meeting. It was like ‘do you want to do the show, well let’s do the show’. I think we handled it pretty well; it was a bit intense, a bit full on.
“It was a good way to do it because you were straight in at the deep end, swimming to the shallow end rather than tip-toeing in. When you tiptoe in, sometimes you don’t like the temperature and you get doubts, wonder if there’re sharks in the water... just jump straight in, no arm bands and see if you can float.”
Getting back together, he adds, was like getting back on a bike.
“You remember how to ride... I’m pulling wheelies this time around and bunny hops, it’s going beautiful. Day by day we’re grateful for the opportunities we’re getting. You realise how valuable this is; it’s a precious thing to have four guys from where we’re from, who’ve had it, had it taken away and got it back again.
“We’re very happy we can do what we do best rather than having to do something with our life we don’t enjoy; to be on stage again and do tracks for the fans who made us who we are. Performing is what we do best, if the music, the vibe is there and the crowd’s up for it it’s a beautiful thing, that’s what I’m focussing on.”
He says audiences can expect a hands in the air, show.
“Fun, that’s all you need man; get a couple of drinks in your hand and everyone’s enjoying. We were never world-changing, we were just pure up pop man, nothing too deep or meaningful, just good music, good fun. All we need now is the clouds to part for us on the day and we’ll be rolling.”
“I’ll make it happen man just for you,” he laughs.
“If the phone cuts out I apologise in advance, we’re on the bus on the way to Brighton right now,” says Michelle a few days later.
Today, she laughs, is a sleepy day for her and fellow BRIT award-winners Tony Lundon, Kevin Simm, Jessica Taylor and Kelli Young, who also reformed for The Big Reunion.
Next on the to do list after our chat, a little nap to keep energy levels up for that night’s show.
“We’re having a blast. It’s only two-and-a-half weeks of your life to be a pop star again, to perform in front of thousands of people every night. We’re totally appreciating every minute of it and enjoying ourselves because it’s not going to last. It’s not like it was back in the day where you carry on these gigs all throughout the year, we can go home to our families and be normal again,” she laughs.
Approached by ITV more than a year ago, the singer turned actress and presenter was 100% up for reforming.
“I thought ‘what have I got to lose’... I suppose I’ve remained in the public eye for whatever reason (notably her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after discovering she had an 80% cent chance of developing breast cancer and a 30% chance of developing ovarian cancer after being diagnosed with a mutated BRCA2 gene) and figured I’m not really going to lose anything.”
Reading the synopsis for the show Michelle knew it’d be a sure-fire hit and didn’t want to miss out. It took a little longer for the rest of the group to weigh up whether it was right for them. Everybody had new careers, family...
“We’re on tour, we’ve got to perform every night, but they’re also making TV at the end of the day. The reason we’re on our way to Brighton so early is we’re filming at the pier; it’s quite a full on schedule,” says Michelle, who’s grateful Liberty X didn’t have the dramatic baggage some of the other bands had.
“We never had any of that, so for us it (performing together again) was just a really nice thing,” says the mother-of-one, who has just been hired as Lorraine Kelly’s fitness expert for the summer.
Newmarket audiences can expect all the hits at next Friday’s gig. Don’t expect them to reform permanently though.
“I don’t think Liberty X will continue as a band; the whole point of doing the show for us was to have fun and be a pop star for a week or two, not to put pressure on us and commit the rest of the year to something that may or may not work. We love Liberty X but we want to leave it there, we don’t want to ruin it by doing something that might not work.”
Michelle’s glad to be on the same tour as chart-toppers Blue, who started out at the same time.
“We did everything together so it’s nice to do that again. I have to say, as an outsider, if I removed Liberty X from the show, I really think if we weren’t involved I’d be absolutely devastated.”
Also appearing at Newmarket soon are Madness on July 19, Labrinth July 26, Kaiser Chiefs August 2, Keane August 9, Meat Loaf August 16 and McFly on August 24. For more information visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk