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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 7 October, 2001, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Geri to repeat desert concert
Geri Halliwell
Geri Halliwell's show: 'Great for morale'
Geri Halliwell is to repeat her performance for British soldiers in Oman after a rapturous reception for her Saturday night show.

More than 6,000 British troops saw the former Spice Girl singing hits and sporting her trademark minimalist outfits - as well as an army uniform.

British soldiers
The excitement led to dehydration for some
Soldiers built Geri a stage and dug a huge arena out of the desert sand.

She arrived for the show in a Chinook helicopter, calling out "Hello boys - how are you doing?" as she took the stage.

She performed a string of hits, including her cover version of It's Raining Men.

Excitement

The show also featured chart-topping band Steps and comedian Bobby Davro.

The excitement proved too much for many in the audience - with scores of soldiers being ferried off to military hospital suffering from dehydration.

Many had made an eight-hour journey through the desert to see the concert.

Steps pose with soldiers
Pop group Steps also entertained the troops
The event was rescheduled from its original timing, so troops could first watch the England football team's World Cup qualifier against Greece on a giant screen.

Before the concert, RAF forces at the desert training base in Camp South said they were looking forward to it.

One soldier said it "would be great for morale", while another said the chance to see a live concert in the desert "would be better than watching the football".

Some of the troops have been out on exercises in Oman for three months.

Army leaders have described the concert as "a well-earned break" for the troops who have been working under "extremely harsh conditions" in intense heat.

Safety

But one officer also complained about the demands Ms Halliwell made to ensure her comfort in the desert - which reportedly included an air-conditioned dressing room and a fridge full of soya milk.

Geri Halliwell
Geri's demands were said to have included an air-conditioned dressing room
"You would have thought we would have better things to do than run around accommodating the needs of Geri Halliwell," he said.

The stars were assured of their safety during the visit, dubbed Operation Ginger.

The artists had been booked to perform at the camp prior to the US terror attacks by Combined Services Entertainment, a charity providing entertainment for British forces worldwide.

Geri Halliwell has previously travelled as a UN goodwill ambassador, shortly after splitting from the Spice Girls.

She campaigned for more "reproductive healthcare, gender equality and the empowerment of women".

The pop star is due to perform her next concert for the Royal Marines stationed in northern Oman later this week.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Comments from the troops
"To see a live concert here is excellent"
See also:

27 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Jolie gets UN refugee role
28 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Stars still helping terror victims
06 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Geri concert for Oman troops
04 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Geri singing for desert troops
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