It's not very often that I indulge my pop obsessions by trekking to arena-style concerts. Sure I'll love and laud them within the confines of these pages, but seeing as how Christina Aguilera's new album, Bionic, really doesn't fit the traditional pop formula, I justified my joining 300 of her most rabid fans in yesterday's mid-morning excursion to catch the live performance of her taping an appearance for CBS' The Early Show.
Now, everyone has their opinions on Aguilera's latest offering (which was officially released this Tuesday, June 8), and while many have made their opines public, I decided against piling on the banter until seeing her perform live. So, in spite of raindrops that threatened to cancel the performance in its entirety, the Early Show Plaza opened their gates to hundreds of fans who excitedly stood in line upwards of 5 hours to catch a brief set by the platinum star...yours truly included.
While I don't doubt the disjointed nature of the disc (it listens like three acts, or even, three separate album configurations: tracks 1-8 give up the dance, go hard, and get interesting; tracks 9-15 get emotional and showcase those legendary vocals; tracks 16-18 are fun and carefree as a box of puppies and cotton candy), I commend Christina for branching out to new producers and writers that eclipse the standard pop stigma and sound. Overall, yes, I dig it, and there are genuine moments when I feel real feelings. End rant.
But yesterday's taping (the show will air tomorrow morning, Friday June 11 on CBS) was about celebrating the new and the old. Beginning her set with current single Not Myself Tonight, Aguilera looked simply radiant as she was joined by a handful of dancers, outfitted in clear raincoats. After doing the stat quo banter with morning show host Julie Chen, she then performed a medley of her early hits, Genie in a Bottle and What a Girl Wants (video below), wherein enthusiastic fans lost their mind...myself included, with sheer fandom pouring out harder than the impending rains.
Poignancy and poise were met as Aguilera then sat for an awe-inspiring performance of You Lost Me, which is one of the Sia-penned insta-classics from the new album. Chen entered the stage once more to exclaim: "I have a bone to pick with you...", evoking Christina to exclaim "BRING ON THE BONES!" (Insert my insane giggle fit and loud laugh here. I don't doubt you'll be able to hear it on the broadcast tomorrow.) Anyway, the host wanted to hear Fighter, which she, and we had heard in a brief soundcheck before the singer officially took the stage. Obliging, albeit naturally planned, the song was a perfect ending to the 5-song mini-concert.
Extraordinary, divine and rapturous. Isn't that what Bionic means? You bet.
You can view the full gallery of images from the event here.