Girls Aloud kick off reunion tour with emotional tributes to late bandmate

Girls Aloud have performed the first night of their reunion tour, honouring late bandmate Sarah Harding.

Nadine Coyle, Cheryl, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh appeared on stage to a delighted audience, 30 minutes later than scheduled due to “Dublin motorway closures”, standing on individual podiums singing opening track Untouchable.

The tour has been dedicated to Harding, who was diagnosed with cancer and died in September 2021 aged 39.

During the show, the foursome performed a duet with Harding, whose vocals to song I’ll Stand By You played as the group sang along live on-stage, in videos circulating on social media.

They later performed one of their biggest bits, The Promise, as the four women stopped and turned their backs to the audience to watch a screen play footage of Harding singing the song on her own.

A post on the official Girls Aloud X account said: “Show 1 done. Dublin you were absolutely INCREDIBLE. What a start to the #TheGirlsAloudShow tour.”

The singers won Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 and formed Girls Aloud, going on to achieve four UK number one singles and a Brit award for track The Promise.

They reunited with new music for their 10th anniversary in 2012, while a second reunion was planned for their 20th anniversary when Harding was diagnosed with cancer.

The Pride of Britain Awards 2013 – London
Sarah Harding died in September 2021 aged 39 (Ian West/PA)

Less than an hour before their expected arrival at the 3Arena in Dublin, the group issued an “updated stage time” on X.

It said due to “Dublin motorway closures”, the foursome would arrive 30 minutes later than expected at 9.15pm.

Despite the unexpected changes, fans including Aaron O’Regan, based in Waterford, Ireland, told the PA news agency: “I’m really excited for it!

“My boyfriend got us tickets last year for our first anniversary so it’s going to be a great night.

“We love Girls Aloud, it’s fantastic to see them back together again and touring.

“My boyfriend even got us T-shirts for tonight, it’s going to be so fun!”

Ahead of the show, a post on the official Girls Aloud X account said: “Rehearsals? Done. Choreography? Ready. Outfits? Fitted. Girls? Aloud.

“…We’ve been working so hard to make this show special for all of you.”

After two back-to-back opening nights in Dublin’s 3Arena, Girls Aloud will play two concerts at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Monday and Tuesday, before heading to the Manchester AO Arena from Thursday to Saturday.

In November, the group had to add six extra dates to their UK and Ireland 2024 arena tour due to “unprecedented demand” following ticket pre-sales.