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Live Review: Christina Aguilera @ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

26 November 2023 | 9:19 am | Michael Prebeg

She wastes no time to serve up some of the biggest hits of her career.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera (Credit: Andrew Briscoe)

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m8riarchy kicks things off with their soulful electro club music on a small stage underneath an undercover tent as the gates open and the crowds roll into Flemington. They deliver a high-energy show with live singing, DJing and choregraphed dancing to pump up the audience early on.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is joined by her fellow Rogue Traders band mate James Ash on the DJ decks as she takes us on a nostalgic ride through her past solo pop hits and some rocking Rogue Traders tracks.“Seeing as though it’s a night of some divas, shall we do a bit of Whitney?” She asks, before also adding in a few pop covers including I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Bassingthwaighte brings a great energy to the stage and gets the audience dancing and singing along. They tease a new Rogue Traders song about to be released very soon and it’s an ‘80s dance banger sure to be a hit.

“My icon is about to rep this stage,” says Jessica Mauboy as she excitedly performs her heart out with an incredible vocal delivery. She’s got a new fiery red hair style and ready to party with us as she powers through all her greatest hits.

“What a gift we have tonight,” says Mauboy. She dedicates Give You Love to Christina Aguilera. “I love her so much and she’s been so iconic in my life and to so many of us here tonight,” she continues, whilst adding in a few short vocal runs of her favourite Xtina tracks. Mauboy leaves us with a song she just released last week called Flashback and proves her worthiness to be sharing the stage with her very own musical idol.

Moments before Christina Aguilera takes to the stage, the heavens open up and rain begins to pour down and there’s no shelter so over the audience quickly puts on their ponchos to take cover. The crew are frantically sweeping water off stage and drying the areas with towels to avoid any slip hazards.

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The stage lights flash as Stripped Intro welcomes the pop icon to the stage. With her entourage of dancers, Aguilera continues with Stripped Pt.2 making her mark and taking total control of the stage with her earth-shattering vocals that command everyone’s complete attention.   

She wastes no time to serve up some of the biggest hits of her career first up, including Dirrty, Can’t Hold Us Down and Genie In A Bottle. Flames shoot up from the stage as the rain eases off for a moment but by this time, we’re so swept up in her mesmerising performance that we barely even care that we’re completely drenched.

“A big shout out to all of you for sticking it out tonight in the pouring rain but I love it, I think it’s so beautiful, I love a good rain to wash over and feel refreshed. My daughter’s middle name is Rain so it works out,” she reassures us. "The last time I was here I realised, I have a fifteen-year-old son and it’s been fifteen years. I was pregnant the last time I was here on the Back To Basics tour so it’s a very special coming here now as a mother,” she tells.

Aguilera gives us an incredible performance of What A Girl Wants as her dramatic vocal gymnastics sends shivers down our spines while she showcases her phenomenal range spanning multiple octaves, which she effortlessly flows in and out of as she belts out the song. Her back-up singers help her fill some of the gaps in between hitting the powerhouse notes to enable her to take a breath and savour her vocals for all the right moments.

“To all my fans – ‘The Fighters’. Thank you for being on this beautiful journey with me. Thank you for your patience and allowing me a moment to be a mumma and doing what I need to do. New music is really coming, I’m so excited,” she reveals.

A quote is displayed across the screen that reads ‘There’s nothing like Latin music, Latin music is a beautiful thing.’ Aguilera returns to the stage after a brief moment to share her latin hits Santo along with a mash up of Feel This Moment and Desnúdate. Aguilera is truly alive in the moment and her high drama and infectious energy spreads like wildfire.

She takes us into her Bionic era with a couple of unexpected song choices, beginning with the title track and followed by Vanity for a fun, sassy performance that encourages the audience to embrace themselves, feel confident and empowered.

The first part of her hit with Maroon 5 Moves Like Jagger is sung with her backup singers before she chimes in with her signature vocal growls. We then go Back To Basics with Ain’t No Other Man and Candyman showcasing the influence of old-school sounds of vintage jazz, soul and blues drawing on inspiration from musical greats. She holds some notes for a breathtaking amount of time with absolute power and control of volume in her voice to leave us stunned.

“From time to time we all have those days where we need a little extra encouragement, a little extra support and along the way we learn who and where to find that from. Sometimes it’s really hard when you’re in the thick of something bad or if you’re just not feeling your situation but you just have to hold on and wait for what is around the corner,” Aguilera shares before an emotional duet of Say Something with a singer named Nelson.

The mood livens up again with a couple of Burlesque numbers including the iconic Lady Marmalade and red streamers explode over the audience at the climax. We reach powerhouse anthems Beautiful and Fighter at the tail end of the set before she leaves us with one last message, “Always love yourself and one another,” she declares.

“It’s been a been an incredible welcome back for me tonight. I love you so much Melbourne, Australia,” Aguilera shouts as Let There Be Love sets off with a display of confetti cannons exploding over the audience for a huge finish. Aguilera’s daughter comes on stage to say hello before departing in a wash of stage light colour - the perfect choice for an exclusive gig from ALWAYS LIVE.