Christina Aguilera: Manchester Arena
Pop superstar Christina Aguilera makes a stunning return to the UK for the first time in over a decade, as Tom Massam can attest.
Just imagine spending your Tuesday night in the same room as Christina Aguilera, who is dressed like a sparkly little Christmas fairy.
It’s like Christmas came a month early when the five-time Grammy award-winner brought The X Tour to Manchester, her first U.K tour in 13 years.
Emerging onstage sat atop a circular throne, a diamante-clad Christina ensures that the remainder of this colourful, multi-layered extravaganza compensates for her late 9.25pm start (although one of her dancers did injure his knee during rehearsals, she confirms).
She takes her Mancunian ‘Fighters’ down memory lane and back with her multitude of hits, including her massive 1999 debut Genie in a Bottle, the sassy Lady Marmalade and the fiery, sensual Dirrty dressed in the iconic chaps from the 2002 music video, which saw her transform from Mickey Mouse Club teen star into pop provocateur Xtina.
The theme of gender equality dominates throughout, especially when Christina performs a feisty rock version of the R&B girl power banger Can’t Hold Us Down mixed with elements of The Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches, against a video backdrop of women’s rights protests.
Christina’s ability to blend different music genres does not stop there-she and her backup singers add gospel vibes to early bubblegum pop gems What a Girl Wants and Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You), all while Christina stands god-like and statuesque in an electric blue robe.
Then, after three male dancers vogue the house down, it’s all jazz and razzmatazz when Ain’t No Other Man and Candyman make their way onto the set list.
One thing’s for sure, The X Tour is no cheap version of Christina’s Las Vegas residency. She sings live throughout the entire show, as confirmed by her ad-libs in between lyrics such as “C’mon Manchesterrr!” and “Lemme hear ya sing!”, although these do become rather excessive. Plus, a lot of the songs have unfortunately been shortened to meet the venue’s strict curfew following her late start.
The best part of the night is watching Christina simply stand there and use her powerhouse vocals to belt out tear-jerking ballads like The Voice Within and Beautiful, which still hold a special place in the hearts of her audience.
After unveiling a black leotard from underneath her chic red kimono during Fighter, what better way to end a celebratory night of 20 years in music than with the euphoric, underrated Pride anthem Let There Be Love?
Overall, it’s safe to say that The X Tour reaffirms Christina Aguilera’s status as a music trailblazer and underrated chameleon.
Lead image: artist’s Facebook page
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