It’s incredible to believe that British boyband JLS formed in 2006. Turning up at Leeds First Direct Arena for the latest date of their “EVERYBODY SAY JLS: The Hits Tour” run the venue is packed out with fans of all ages – mostly female it has to be said – many carrying an assortment of home-made banners and t-shirts and there is an air of excitement around the room by the time main support Tinchy Stryder bounces out of the wings.

Tinchy is a man who needs no introduction to this crowd, a crowd who he quickly whips up and out of their seats with his London hip-hop anthems. Keeping with the theme of the tour, the rapper blitzed through a set of hits from the last decade or so making him the perfect warm-up for the main course. Not that any warming up was needed really.

Looking around the crowd prior to the four favourites make their return to Leeds, you can see that a good portion of this crowd was around then when the quartet first burst onto the scene. The enthusiasm for the group hasn’t faded over time either and near hysteria greets the faces of the group appearing on huge video screens before the quartet appear at the back of the stage.

What followed was pure pop bliss for this crowd as JLS gave them everything they could have wanted. Stacked with energetic and well choreographed dance routines, the group, as advertised, smashed through a greatest hits sets plundering their incredible eighteen year back catalogue. Dwarfed by huge video screens which flashed up career-spanning images behind impressive pyrotechnics, the crowd lapped up pop smash hits like “Hottest Girl In The World” like it was the first time they had heard them.

As for the four friends, they had plenty of banter between songs and the connection between the four looks as strong now as it back in their heyday. Their connection with their fans looks equally as strong and, seeing the reaction to their set, it almost feels like the four lads are as popular and in demand now as they were back in the early 2000’s. Next Summer the band hit the road for a run of huge outdoor shows which, on this evidence, could be some of the hottest outdoor pop shows of the Summer and ones that you won’t want to miss.

For details on the recently announced JLS Summer 2024 tour, get all the dates here.

Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

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