I HAVE the greatest respect for Mel C, although I have been far from her greatest fan in the past. Last night's show at Fibbers was the second of a five-date Barfly tour of extremely intimate venues.

Indeed, Fibbers, wonderful as it is, holds only 200 standing patrons. A major star of Melanie Chisholm's status could so easily play venues many, many times this capacity, even if there was an important footie match on TV.

But Chisholm, apparently having spent the past three months recording her third, but first independent solo album, needed the immediate, cathartic release of playing to an intimate, partisan audience. Supported by her long-standing seven-piece band, Chisholm showcased six new songs, as well as both the hits and favourites from her Northern Star and Reason albums.

Mel is obviously a Rock Chick, and the majority of the show was a rocking, shrill, Joan Jett-stylee gig. But rather impressively, the middle section featured an acoustic Greatest Hits package. The fact that 90 per cent of the audience knew Chisholm's established catalogue verbatim allowed Mel to play with those present, and they enjoyed a jolly good singalong.

Never Be The Same Again, I Turn To You, Yeh Yeh Yeh and the rather naughty Goin' Down were in the repertoire.

The fans were totally ecstatic. Many just could not believe that they were in such an intimate gig, and spent the majority of the evening capturing the evening's entertainment permanently via their mobiles. Dare I say that this is a very annoying habit for other patrons!

Mel C's gig was hot in every sense of the word: a dynamic star, a tremendous band and the hottest and the sweatiest room in York.

Everyone was absolutely drenched with human sweat by the end of the evening. But no one was complaining. Mel C at Fibbers was a night to be remembered by both the fans and York.

Updated: 14:44 Monday, June 14, 2004