December 26, 2001 – a day that will forever be marred by a ‘Tragedy’ of Steptacular proportions: the split of one of Britain’s most lovable pop groups, STEPS.
After four hit albums, 14 top 10 singles, and just days after wrapping their sold out greatest hits tour of the U.K., the co-ed camp-pop troupe – comprised of Claire Richards, Lee Latchford Evans, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee and Ian ‘H’ Watkins – called it quits seemingly out of the blue.
The statement the band issued was brief and polite (“We have always said that when the time came we would leave as good friends and go out while we're on top, and although we are all very sad, that's what we have done,” it read), but in the days of pre-social media, when pop groups endured drama the mediums for he-said/she-said were limited. Instead, fans were left to spiral amongst themselves on message boards and fan forums with little to no more explanation.
The years that followed were less than golden. H&Claire gave it a go as a duo, releasing one album together that bowed at #58 on the U.K. charts. Lisa Scott-Lee’s solo career, despite starting strong with the top 10 hit “Lately,” became a meme before memes even existed. And the other three have been kept busy with plenty of pantos (bless!).
Still, the demand for a Stomping return never waned, and the band reformed for a massive arena tour and greatest hits album in 2012. Now, on the cusp of their 20-year anniversary next May – and rumors all over the British gossip mags of a surprise performance at G-A-Y on New Years Eve – we take a look back at some of STEPS most iconic live performances.
"Deeper Shade of Blue" – Steptacular Tour
STEPS live shows quickly became their sweet spot, packing arenas with everyone from children to gaggles of drunken hen nights all reciting choreography in unison. On their third headline tour, the Steptacular Tour, the band showed some maturity with a Gotham City-esque set and this dramatic opening number of the Sleazesisters Mix of "Deeper Shade of Blue."
"Chain Reaction" – Smash Hits Poll Winners
The band's penultimate single, a cover of Diana Ross' "Chain Reaction," was one of their biggest hits and helped send their greatest hits album Gold to the top of the charts for three weeks. This performance from the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party had the band back in their hospital uniforms for a camp recreation of the music video live on stage.
"Tragedy" – Live Showtime at the Stadium
The amount of times Steps sang live were less than 5,6,7 or 8, but this rare live performance showed off the vocal chops of all five members. From Lee's opening, to Claire's Adele-style belting, when the group had their mics on they proved their live singing was pure Gold!
"I Know Him So Well" – Gold Tour
This ballad from the Abba-penned musical Chess was originally covered by the band for the Abbamania compilation in 1999. It became a regular staple of Steps shows as the three girls would typically perform it alone, taking the opportunity to showcase their surprisingly lovely harmonies as a three piece.
"One For Sorrow" - Disneyland
Steps didn't find much success on this side of the pond, but they did land a highly rated Disney Channel concert series (alongside British boyband Five). The show ended up helping move over 200,000 copies of the band's debut Step One in the U.S. The concert was one of few in which Steps performed with a live band.