CHRISTCHURCH musician Ricci Riccardi embarks on the most exciting adventure of his career tomorrow as Musical Director and drummer for The Spice Girls on their long-awaited reunion tour.

Also joining Ricci, who grew up in Swanage and was a regular on the Bournemouth gig scene, will be his brother, Louis, 36, as lead guitarist.

The 13-date UK Spice World stadium tour kicks off before 82,000 fans at Croke Park, Dublin. It is a far cry from the local shows the brothers performed at venues such as Penn Central and The Cow, when the duo would have the crowds up dancing on tables.

Ricci, 38, admits he is “sworn to secrecy” about what’s in store other than it features the Spice Girls’ biggest hits and it’s going to be “incredible”.

He told The Bournemouth Echo: “The Spice Girls are legendary. It’s surreal to play such iconic songs when they’re standing five foot in front of you. And it’s so interesting to get an insight into how they all work together.”

It has been reported that Mel C - always arguably the Spice Girls ’ unofficial lead vocalist, insisted Ricci be the MD for this historic reunion.

Mel stipulated that the group use her own “musical director”, to oversee the group’s singing and ensure the vocals are on point.

Ricci has been her MD for two years having previously worked with artists such as Lulu, Jamelia; Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud; Rebecca Ferguson, Tulisa, The Overtones and Professor Green - “a very eclectic mix !”

He recalls he auditioned for Mel C with Louis two years ago when Louis had broken his leg skiing and was facing possible amputation:

“There was a good chance he would lose his leg - or continue to suffer huge pain. We auditioned for Mel with Louis lying on the couch with his leg up in plaster with crutches playing guitar and he sang When You’re Gone with her! She was so cool about it. “

After raising £20,000 through Crowd Funding Louis was able to have an operation that saved his leg, carried out by the same surgeon and physio who had operated on rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio.

Ricci has been working on the tour since January and rehearsing for the last six weeks with the Spice Girls themselves.

He said: “They are all absolutely lovely. They all have their own personalities and are exactly as you would expect. When you see them doing their thing as The Spice Girls it’s amazing. But they are very normal, very real and very realistic. They are easy to talk to and we enjoy good banter and they are always thankful.

“I don’t feel under pressure now we have had all the production rehearsals because it’s down to the girls now and they will do an amazing job.”

Taking two days off to be at home after weeks of intensive preparations to “ do the gardening, get a haircut and cook the children bolognaise “ Ricci is very excited :" I am looking forward to the first and also last note at Wembley which will be incredible.But on Friday, about 8.40pm when they come out on stage for the first time in years it’s going to be unbelievable - that moment will be incredibly special. Stepping out in front of 82,000 fans it will be pandemonium: it’s historic because of the legends these girls are.”

The Spice World tour starts in Croke Park on Friday and tours until mid-June, with three sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. After the tour, Ricci says he is most looking forward to windsurfing again with friends at Avon Beach and spending time with his family. He returns home on June 16 - Father's Day although his children, Rafael, 6, and Marcel, 3, are fans of the band and will be going to at least one show!

He added: "It's been wonderful and I'm very lucky but you have to work very hard, often through the night and at the expense of fun times and family. Many people keep saying congratulations to me on my job but because I'm so involved it just feels like a normal thing that I do."