Main photo credit: Today.com
My first Christina Aguilera concert was in 1999 at Lakewood Amphitheater. I was 14-years-old, wearing leopard print pants and a matching velvet cowboy hat. The same week, Britney' Spears played at Lakewood, and I remember thinking Britney’s show was so incredible but, man, Christina can freaking sing. Nothing has changed about her voice over the years but what has changed is you can see how much of her own creativity went into the production of her new album Liberation.
Christina’s Aguilera’s Liberation Tour at Atlanta’s fabulous Fox Theatre will be a night for her fans to look back on and examine how she made us feel. She made us feel loved. She made us feel like we’ve grown. And she continued to inspire us with her fashion.
Xtina opened the show on a lift in the middle of the stage behind a sheer curtain with doors projected on them, and as they opened, she was lowered to the floor on a set of stairs lined with LEDs. She was wearing a beautiful Spanish-inspired red dress and flower crown — the entire look was very Frida Kahlo. Geisha dancers with umbrellas lined the stage as the beat to “Genie in a Bottle” started to play. We all started singing along, remembering the time and place we heard it for the first time. I was barely 13 in the car with my mom thinking, “Who is this?! I love her!”
She then serenaded us with a mashup of “What a Girl Wants” and “Come on Over” — which were the happy songs that put her on the map, and more importantly, on TRL.
Between sets, the audience was gifted with beautiful and artsy visuals of Christina and her daughter in crowns walking through fields and an old house, Christina swimming in a pool of water with the classic dripping mascara look and then her darkest times sitting by a window drinking a bottle of wine with pasties on.
During the show she talked us through her decision to write songs which were considered a little darker for the time of early 2000s, which was filled with bubblegum pop and boy bands. It’s been 16 years since Stripped debuted, but her fans all remember Christina in the boxing ring rocking a short skirt, smoky eyes and braids singing and dancing to “Dirty.”
“To find the light you have to get a little dark and come out on the other side.”
Like many of her fans, who call themselves “Fighters,” I feel so incredibly connected to Christina. Her music helped get me through my late teens and early 20s, arguably one of the hardest moments of my life transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It was full of heartbreak and tough decisions.
“Deserve,” from her latest album Liberation, hosted a scene on stage of Christina and her dancers standing in front of a long, gold table lined with tall candle sticks and goblets. The dancers wore masks decorated with gold spikes covering their mouths and Christina wore a black dress embroidered with gold jewels and an S&M style mask. She went on to perform “Moulin Rouge,” “Aint’ No Other Man,” and “Say Something,” along with a beautiful cover of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” and “Stronger.”
“At the end of the day we have to keep on singing our own songs.”
Another clip came over the screen depicting images of young girls and voiceovers saying things like, “I want to be a boss, a doctor, the President” along with images of Christina as a child peppered in. Christina makes you feel proud to be a strong independent and “Beautiful” woman, which is what she went on to sing in a gorgeous, long, white dress with shoulders that resembled something out of this world.
I feel like I’ve gone through life with Christina. From wide-eyed, young, pop loving teens, to angsty 20-year-olds crushed by the realities of the world and to moms struggling to balance your own creativity and passions with the responsibilities of parenthood. She expressed her gratitude for our patience since her last tour, and emotions ran high since the tour was coming to a close. As a mom, having fans who stick with you is much like having friends who stick with you. You know they are loyal, and there’s nothing more beautiful than feeling genuinely loved and appreciated when you can’t always be present the way you would like. Having children is a sacrifice to your past life, those who know know.
“All you can do is follow that heart of yours.”
Christina’s last outfit was a lacy wedding dress lined with black trim. Two guys were called to the stage from the side, one of them was too overwhelmed to utter a word and the other one spoke to us on the microphone. He told us about how five years ago his partner showed up on his doorstep for their first date and the rest is history. He explained he is a big believer that opposites attract because his partner was one of the kindest people on earth before saying, “Because most of the time I just act like a bitch.” We all cracked up.
Then he got down on one knee and proposed — of course his now fiancé said yes. Pride flags flew out from the audience, Atlanta drag queens Aurora Sexton and Evah Destruction strutted on the stage, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, or honestly that could have just been me. I was flooded with emotions from the joy of love, remembering the hard times to now being a strong woman and mother coupled with the feeling you get after a powerful, yet intimate show. I had officially been liberated.