Nicola Roberts thanks Girls Aloud fans for ‘most incredible opening night’

Nicola Roberts has thanked Girls Aloud fans for the “most incredible opening night” after they kicked off their reunion tour in Dublin.

The girl group – which consists of Nadine Coyle, Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh and Roberts – have dedicated the tour to their late bandmate Sarah Harding, who was diagnosed with cancer and died in September 2021 aged 39.

The Love Machine hitmakers are set to perform again at the 3Arena in Dublin on Saturday before they travel across the UK with shows in cities including Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and London.

Ahead of their second show on Saturday, Roberts posted a series of photos of the foursome performing on the opening night in elaborate white costumes with sequins and ruffles.

Each member donned their own take on the outfit, with Cheryl and Coyle opting for a bodysuit style while Walsh wore a jumpsuit version and Roberts a dress variation with a tulle skirt.

In a couple of the images the girl group can be seen standing on individual raised podiums.

Alongside the post, Roberts wrote: “Wow! Thank you for the most incredible opening night!

“Dublin, you were everything and knowing some of you have flown in from around the world to be with us at our first show is so special.

“In glam getting ready to go again .. Love these pics of our first costume.”

The group opened Friday’s show 30 minutes later than scheduled due to “Dublin motorway closures”, with their hit Untouchable.

During the concert, the foursome performed a duet with Harding, whose vocals to the 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.

Longtime Girls Aloud fan Anna-Laura MJ Hitch, 30, told the PA news agency that she could tell the show was “emotional” for the girl group and the crowd following Harding’s death.

“It was beautiful, but in a very tough way. I think it reality hit everybody a bit”, she said.

“She is so missed and loved. The tour programme explains how much money they’ve fundraised towards cancer research and this tour is only helping more. She’d be very proud.”

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

Ms Hitch, who flew from Whitby in North Yorkshire to be at the first show having previously seen the group around 20 times, said the concert was “very nostalgic” for her as she used to attend the opening night of their tours when growing up.

She added: “The last time I saw them I was pregnant, and now I have a 10-year-old daughter who I’m taking to another of their tour dates in a couple of weeks.

“It all feels very full circle and they’ve been a massive part of my life.”

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.

After their two shows 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.