Nine Years Later: Still Quite a Spice Rack

The Spice Girls are scary. All of them. Not just the one that is actually called Scary. It's been nine years since we saw them in their full, five-girl glory. As they announced their reunion tour they were older, more glamorous, more sophisticated, but just as loud and brimming with attitude.

"There's going to be five girls, big stage, big speakers, big crowd, it's going to be loud, like America. Get it?" That's how Geri Halliwell described the tour that will kick off in December and hit six continents for 12 shows. Apparently, the girls will bag $20 million each.

The launch was a scene. Posh squeezed into a stupendous bustier. She was all pout and teased blond hair. Baby, about to have her own baby, still glows like she did back in the day. Scary is glamorous and sleek … until she opens her mouth. Sporty scrubs up nicely and looks better now that she's shed the sweats. And Ginger? Well, she's still ginger. She's adopted a soft, floral, flowing and fragrant look. It works.

These girls, who in the early-90s answered a newspaper ad placed by a wannabe manager, became the fastest-selling act since the Beatles. They moved more than 50 million records. They broke America. They broke the world. They were the backlash against the earnest long-haired men thrashing guitars and moaning about life. They were brassy. They were Girl Power. Ginger Spice goosed Prince Charles.

"You know, we're Spice Women now," Ginger told me. And what's the difference between a Spice Girl and a Spice Woman? "Age … and experience ... motherhood."

Scary just had a baby with Eddy Murphy. He denied it. A DNA test proved it. Baby is due any day. Ginger has a daughter. And, of course, Posh has three sons with her soccer star husband David Beckham, who will join the tour.

"I think that's the other thing we're excited about," Posh told me. "Our children seeing what we used to do. I can't wait for my kids to see mummy on a stage."

They're keeping their original Spice names. I'd read that one of them has her spice name tattooed on her bottom. They looked flustered when I asked about it. "Are you looking at me?" Sporty asked me nervously. Then Baby piped up: "Well, it's not on my bottom." She wouldn't elaborate any further.

This tour is not a full-blown reunion. It's just a tour, then the girls will go their separate ways once again. (Ginger promised she will show up this time.) She quit the band in '98 and there were rumors of bad blood. "Who were you fighting with?" I asked her. "Myself, myself," she replied before Sporty jumped in to save her. "It was such a different time," she explained. "We were very, very young. Our lives had changed dramatically and quickly."