Music review: Christina Aguilera, Live in Concert 2023, Flemington Race Course

Victoria’s Always Live music celebration commenced Saturday night with a long-awaited reappearance from Christina Aguilera at Flemington Racecourse, making her return to an Aussie stage after a 15-year hiatus.

Fans endured the rain to see the multi-Grammy Award winning superstar perform hits like ‘Genie in a Bottle’, ‘What a Girl Wants’ and ‘Dirrty’ for just one night only.

First appearing on stage wearing a red and black corseted one piece with thigh-high leather boots, Aguilera thanked her fans for sticking it out in the rain, expressing that nothing beats a wash of rain to feel refreshed and recharged. The last time she was in Australia, she told us, was when she was pregnant with her son on her Back To Basics tour. Now, as a mother, she said it was even more special being back.

Her electrifying performance embodied a fusion of glamour and burlesque sex appeal. Sequinned dancers, flames and her signature mezzo-soprano voice brought the stage to life, evoking nostalgia for the iconic Aguilera of the noughties. The beloved ‘Lady Marmalade’ hit from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack was one of the highlights of the night, with Aguilera’s never-ending melismatic vocals of French intimacies and background screens illuminating neon images of love and passion.

While the old Aguilera was back with her big hair and youthful energy, there was also a newfound maturity in the performance – she radiated a deep maternal love for her fans. Advocating kindness and equality, the superstar passionately sang ‘Beautiful’, the widely embraced LGBTQIA+ anthem, amid a sea of waving phone lights in the crowd, crafting a tender moment that was much needed to break up the high-octane pop songs.

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She surprised fans with an unexpected mash-up of Pitbull’s ‘Feel This Moment’, a track on which she collaborated in 2013, with Regina Do Santos’ hit ‘Desnúdate, Desnúdame’. At this point, Aguilera truly owned the stage, exuding energy and command. Latin music has always remained a vibrant part of her career, charged by her Ecuadorian heritage.

Aguilera thanked her fans, or “The Fighters” as she likes to call them, one last time for enduring the weather and their patience in waiting for the release of new music (which she said will definitely be coming). It’s clear that this evolved version of her is committed to learning more about her Latin heritage and its rich musical landscape, and it’s likely we will continue to see this explored within her new music.

Pre-entertainment for the night included m8riarchy, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who was accompanied by her Rogue Traders bandmate James Ash on the DJ decks, and Jessica Mauboy, who delivered a powerhouse performance to hype up the crowd with her latest song, ‘Flashback’.

Read: Theatre review: The Seagull, Roslyn Packer Theatre

Christina Aguilera kicked off Always Live with a bang, serving up her hottest hits in just one night and making up for her 15-year Australian hiatus. An unforgettable performance that hit all the right notes.

Christina Aguilera headlined Always Live at Flemington Racecourse and played for one night only on 25 November 2023.

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Always Live is running until 10 December 2023.

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