Time has not been the kindest to Christina Aguilera. Not to speak ill of her iconic voice or her rather blemish-free career, rather, her relevancy, in and of itself, has not stood the test of time. Compared to once contemporaries like Beyoncé, Pink and even Britney Spears, who have all carved spaces for themselves in the current pop music plane in spite of younger rising stars, Aguilera has not. The “Liberation Tour,” her first concert tour in 10 years, only served to amplify this notion, as Aguilera served nostalgia with a healthy reminder of her growing disconnect.

Christian Aguilera

Photo courtesy of Christina Aguilera’s Facebook page

Throughout the Pepsi Center, droves of fans attended to the concessions, some of whom represented various stages of Christina Aguilera’s career.  There were the “teeny-bopper” Christina’s, the wholesome Disney-approved iterations dressed down denim skirts and oversized hats circa 2000. Xtina fans donned shirts emblazed with her then-polarizing image — the bad girl, the woman empowered in her sexuality. Then, there were the fans of the Back to Basics Christina, resurrected in platinum blonde wigs and an affinity for the singer’s powerful vocals and never-ending melisma. Altogether, it was an audience seeking various eras, but not sure what to expect while gathered in silence awaiting the show’s start.

Christina Aguilera

Photo courtesy of Christina Aguilera’s Facebook page

A countdown commenced and a short video proclaiming “the queen is back” was projected on a screen in front of the stage. Aguilera, high on a risen stage platform broke into “Maria” as her dancers whisked around below her. Having come back from bronchitis and two canceled performances preceding the Denver show, Aguilera was a bit under the weather, but her powerful voice was still something to behold. The stratospheric high notes may not have been there, but Aguilera powered through anyway. Classics like “Fighter” and “Dirrty” (complete with a reimagining of her iconic assless chaps) amongst others showcased her signature vocal chops and for a couple glorious moments portrayed a completed vision of the Christina Aguilera many had come to love.  Likewise, even in the songs, she struggled through due to her sickness like the ambitious “Lady Marmalade” and “Ain’t No Other Man” aided in uniting the crowd and fulfilling the expectations a 10-year absence creates.

Christina Aguilera

Photo courtesy of Christina Aguilera’s Facebook page

However, while Aguilera’s absence from touring lasted 10 years, the same cannot be said for her time in the studio. The last three projects following 2006’s Back To Basics, including the recently released Liberation have been lackluster affairs, diminishing her position in pop music as well as her fan base in the process. This is so not because of her performances on the projects, rather, their unidentifiable nature. So, as the setlist bounced between nostalgia and new tunes, many in the audience were left disconnected, sitting in their seats throughout.

Such is the case of extended absences — the artist is left to reach, hoping to connect with the expectations they left to either their benefit or their detriment. For Aguilera, it was closer to the latter, but then again, how do you meet the expectation when all your fans expect something different?

17 Responses

  1. Carver

    I saw her in CT a few weeks back. She was absolutely phenomenal. She’s in her own league. The fact that you even brought up Pink and Britney Spears who lip sync all of their material and can’t even sing is a joke. Her true fans love her. She’s also carved her own way…no one else can sing like her. She’s won 6 Grammys. Maybe do some more research next time.

    Reply
    • Greg Brent

      I totally agree with you in your assessment of this review. It’s ashame that someone who clearly doesn’t appreciate Christina Aguilera and doesn’t even recognize her amazing vocal skills, is the one writing a review of her tour show. Christina isn’t in the Mickey Mouse club any longer and should be compared to Adele or Celine because she is a woman not a teeny bopper

      Reply
    • Michael

      Pink can’t sing live? Are you actually serious? The point of the article is that her last 3 albums no one knows. No one doubts she can sing but the material isn’t there.. pink and Britney have consistently released good songs and albums.. Christina needs a solid CD of good hits badly

      Reply
      • Greg Brent

        You make a very good point about PINK being able to sing and has released new music that is good. She obviously has to use a backing track when she does her aerobics on her tour shows. I do not care for Christina’s latest album Liberation, but do like a lot of her older songs which she does perform on this tour. Christina’s vocal ability however is in another league. Hopefully as an adult, she will move in the correct direction as a parallel artist to Adele and Celine and move away from being a pop princess like a Britney or Halsey or Cardi B

    • NC

      you’re batshit insane to ever think PINK of all people cannot sing. the woman has vocals for days and I’m not even a dan. extremely stupid,combative,nonsense comment. I hope you’re a child that’s the only way to excuse something as weightless,false and ridiculous as this….grow up.

      Reply
  2. Greg Brent

    I could not disagree more with this review’s assessment of Christina Aguilera’s Liberation Tour show at Pepsi Center. Christina was nothing short of brilliant.
    She has been away almost 10 years from entertaining and was thrilled to be back on stage especially in an arena (rather than a theater as this show is in most cities). While her latest album “Liberation” is not one I particularly like, her show was great!!!
    Christina was willing to share that she doesn’t lip-sync her performance and that she still was suffering from bronchitis so she apologized ahead of time if her voice would sometimes be off. Her voice however was amazing throughout…such a great range….able to bellow out or softly sing the lyrics to her songs. While she performed some music from her latest album, she actually ran through her entire catalog sometimes doing snippets of songs. While she changed outfits a number of times (and her outfits were absolutely beautiful), she had the backdrop of a video with her speaking her thoughts. The show continued to move along. She had her band on stage, a number of talented dancers, and three talented back-up singers. When her opener (Big Boi) cancelled, the show did not start at 8 pm but rather at 9 pm. Christina showed so much connection with the audience, so much heart and feeling. This reviewer feels she somehow needs to update what she does (I suppose this reviewer who likes Kanye West and The Chemical Brothers must want Christina to become like Halsey??!! ) Christina at 37 years of age needs to do exactly what she did….sing her most popular older hits….showcase her voice…and do brilliant covers too like “It’s A Man Man Man’s World”, which brings down the house at every stop.
    Those that showed up for Christina Aguilera after a 10 year absence are true fans of the singer. She did not disappoint. Her show was amazing. Sorry this reviewer is not a fan of a true vocal talent. So happy that Christina Aguilera is back!!!

    Reply
    • Kori Hazel

      Hi Greg, thank you for reading the review. However, there may be a misundrestanding in your take away. I had nothing but praise for Christina’s vocals, and I voice my appreciation throughout. My qualms had less to do with Christina’s performance, and more to do with how the concert was received. Of the six or so arena shows I’ve attended this year, Christina Aguilera’s was the only one in which the overwhelming majority of fans were seated. I didn’t matter what song it was, people remained still (even on the floor) and for the most part seemed disengaged from it. The reception quite literally sucked the life out of the show, and in the review I attribute that disconnect to Christina’s waning popularity and failure to capture a sound that benefits her iconic voice. Its also worth mentioning that Christina is not my first pop concert —far from it.

      For the record, in my bio, in stating “from Kanye to the Chemical Brothers” I was referring to the fact that I do not stick to genres nor do I specialize in a specific sound. Everything is open game.

      Reply
      • Greg Brenr

        I don’t know where you were seated in the arena. I was in section 126. People stood up at appropriate times in my section and on the floor in front of me much of the show. Christina’s management wisely booked her into theatres in most cities recognizing that being away 10 years and without a current hit album, Christina was unlikely to fill a major venue. I assume the Paramount and other venues were booked. Likewise Mariah Carey’s people realize she should do her upcoming tour In theatre venues instead of arenas. I video recorded many songs from the show and the cheering from the audience is incredible. I attend an extremely large number of shows each year and nowadays it seems too much trouble for audiences to clap or cheer after a song. Christina received a high level of cheering which I can show anyone who wanted to see and hear the videos I took. I’ve thought about going to the show in St Louis at the opera house there. I fear a bit that she may postpone more shows because of the stress she is putting on her vocal cords which happens to a lot of entertainers who sing as she does. Britney or Halsey don’t have to worry about straining their vocal cords in concert
        I read reviews and yours was disturbing because Christina was great. I don’t know where you were seated but the people around me were enthusiastic

    • Jim Watson

      I’m with you Greg, I just saw the Oakland show and she great even though she was ill.

      Reply
  3. Greg Brent

    Chicago Tribune review of Christina Aguilera’s tour show will tell you more about the show than this 303 reviewers opinion. She isn’t Kanye West or The Chemical Brothers!!

    Christina Aguilera review: Hitting Chicago to reclaim her throne as vocal queen

    Reply
  4. Lex

    Well she must be relevant to you if you bothered to take the time to find ways to explain her “irrelevance” in this review. First off, please don’t speak for others. You are one person with one opinion. There are millions of Christina fans who understand and accept and love her artistry. She’s not the chart chasing artist who does what everyone else does because it’s popular. She blazes her own trail. One of the best things about Christina is that we never know what to expect from her because she’s so versitile. You know what to expect with Britney, Beyonce and Pink (no hate, I’m a fan of all) but Christina is known for being different. She’s not afraid to try new things and play with her sound and style. That alone keeps her relevant. It’s funny that no matter what Christina does there is always someone dissecting and analyzing every move she makes looking for reasons to tear her down. She’s undeniable, people need to accept it because she’s gonna be around for years to come. If you really think Christina doesn’t have a place in today’s music then you just don’t get it and that’s okay, not everyone was meant to. Christina is an artist for the open minded.

    Reply
    • Kori Hazel

      Hi Lex,

      Thank you for taking the time to read the review. In no way am I trying to tear Chrisitna Aguilera down or diminish her immense talent or her artistry. I also agree with a lot of your own points, however, when all the upper balconies are closed and her fans remain seated or still (in the case of the floor) for the entirety of her concert there’s something not adding up for someone you claim still holds on to relevancy. Not only that, but for such a household name coming off a lengthy touring hiatus, you’d expect a better and more welcoming reception, would you not? In terms of speaking for others, the lack of interaction and poor reception said all that needed to be said.

      Reply
    • NC

      you do that need to apologize for sh!t! this was your assessment a day your experience.Crybaby fans dont have to like it. thank you for sharing your experience and opinion from a non die hard fan perspective. it will make my experience even more thoughtful and enjoyable tmw. keep up the great work and NEVER silence your voice and opinions simply bc crazed Xtina bots feel like you attacked their deal leader bc you didn’t kiss the ring. Hugs and take care. 💖

      Reply
    • NC

      this was an assessment of your experience.Crybaby fans dont have to like it. An opinion different than yours is not an ASSAULT,IT’S AN OPINION.if you dont know someome personally, why are you being a child and taking it personal? did you fail yourself by STILL not learning this???For the love of God,grow the fuck up already. it’s not that serious…you act like this review actually affects your life! smdh…wow….

      Reply
  5. Luis

    Kori Hazel, do yourself a favor and sit the fuck down. Christina Aguilera is still the best vocalist out there and it’s sad to see her get no radio support whatsoever. Her new album is SO GOOD! I don’t understand why she’s being overlooked. It’s disappointing to not see her get the recognition she deserves. She has become the most underrated artist of today.

    Reply
  6. Jody

    Such a lackluster review, I wanted to read a review on the show itself instead you just gave your own synopsis of her career in recent years?

    I would class this as click bait as you gave me little to nothing that paints a picture of what to actually expect from this show apart from your intricate description of what the audience were wearing.

    Great job Kori :/

    Reply
  7. Holl

    This review sounds biased. I just attended her concert in Oakland and it was amazing! The whole entire theater was on their feet the whole entire show! She was amazing! Sounded great for still being sick! Everyone in the crowd loved her show she got so much praise!

    Reply

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