Concert Review – Justified & Stripped Tour
Well, last night Michelle & I saw quite a show. I have to say Christina Aguilera did not disappoint and I can say without a doubt she’s not a “studio” singer. That girl has got mad vocal skillz. A number of things struck me about Christina’s performance, mainly the fact that she really seemed to be enjoying herself. A lot of pop performers present a certain persona on stage which carries through each tightly choreographed number (Think Janet’s attitude, Britney’s come-hither looks, Madonna’s sassy-bitch style). In-between songs said artist will scream “How are we doing in [insert city name here] tonight?” or something else to personalize the moment, but then the music kicks in and the game face is back on. In contrast, Christina rarely seemed to be “in character”. It reminded me of a scene in Rock Star where Mark Walberg’s character can’t keep from grinning during a band photo shoot. Even during those sultry moments, she offered a quick smile or wink reminding me more of the girl next door type then “X-tina”.
Choreography took a backseat to a strong vocal performance and while she managed to strut her stuff Christina’s dance troupe provided the visuals. Songs from her first album were offered up as remixed medleys and I was impressed by her covers of Etta James. The show closed with an energized version of “Fighter” followed “Beautiful” which Christina kicked off a cappella.
Now some of you are wondering “But Dude, I heard she’s fat now?” I can’t remember her quote from Rolling Stone (and it’s not in the online excerpt), but I don’t think she looked too plump or anything. It’s obvious she’s not the waif she was a few years back, but I’m not really concerned enough to delve into her personal eating habits. I will say kudos to her & Justin for having dancers that actually looked healthy (gotta have some meat on them bones). The female dancers had curves (and I don’t mean aftermarket breasts) while the guys weren’t all washboard abs and chests like Johnny Bravo.
Grade: A+ (Let me say again CHRISTINA CAN SING HER ASS OFF!)
So what about Justin?
Well, other than Punked and maybe a couple clips from some N`Sync video I can’t say I knew anything about him. Sure I’ve heard the hype and read the disses, but I can honestly say I had no expectations going to the show. That being said Justin’s performance, in contrast to Christina’s, was all about the choreography and putting on an energetic show. I can see why there would be Michael Jackson comparisons as the dance grooves were very frontman oriented unlike Madonna’s shows which play like musical theatre. The show was slick and by that I mean the production almost seemed too processed. I’d be more inclined to believe there were some vocal tracks covered by Justin’s backup singers as the sheer intensity of the dance moves would make it hard to commit an even stronger vocal performance. (As a former singer/dancer I have an informed opinion) There were pieces of the show that were very remnant of Britney’s performance on HBO and noticing the similarities in their music that doesn’t surprise me.
It’s clear that the former N`Sync guy has talent, but I’m just not a fan of his voice or vocal style. It’s not his use of falsettos which make him MJ-like, but whenever he sings in his full voice it just doesn’t convince me his weuvos<sp?> have dropped. Now I’m not saying he can’t sing because it’s obvious he can; I’m just saying he doesn’t do it for me.
Moving on the highlight of the evening was when Justin broke into his human beat box shtick. While not the most original it was fun to watch as he stepped on a platform which place him about 100ft above the main floor audience. Add a local Dallas DJ and a great percussive style drummer and you had yourself probably the hippest rave ever.
Grade: B (Justin will be the MJ for a new generation. Let’s hope he doesn’t follow ALL the King of Pop’s footsteps)