Christina Aguilera is not the first pop superstar to appear at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre. The venue has played host to Britney Spears, Lionel Richie, Duran Duran and Tom Jones, amongst others, so Aguilera was following in good footsteps.
Within the first five minutes of the show opening the Scarborough audience had been treated to a laser show, fireworks and confetti cannons the likes of which the seaside town had probably never witnessed before. If Aguilera had wanted to make a statement that she had arrived she could not have made it clearer.
Aguilera plays Scarborough
Taking to the stage in a futuristic outfit wearing dark shades, she wore her hair tied back in a ponytail. The Scarborough audience was a mixed one: 20 and 30 year olds who had grown up listening to her music, along with lots of couples, and a strong contingent from the LGBTQ+ community. To appeal to such a wide demographic you have to be good, though that was never in doubt. And Aguilera proved during the 80-minute set that she is still on fire.
As the first notes of Dirrty rang out, six dancers surrounded Aguilera. “How ya doing, Scarborough?” she called out. I wonder how many American superstars have asked Scarborough that question?
“This is for my girls around the world”, she continued as she introduced Can’t Hold Us Down. Surprisingly her big hits followed early on in the set with Vanity and Genie In A Bottle being sung in the first 20 minutes, though of course there was still more surprises to come.
The segment of tracks sung in Spanish will have worked well on her recent concerts in Iberia, and such is the quality of her songs that they resonated just as much in Scarborough. Santo deserves to be heard in every nightclub across Europe whilst the guitar-led Pa’ mis Muchachas was a good contrast to showcase her vocal abilities.
The action hotted up again as the confetti cannons showered the audience during Feel This Moment; even without Pitbull as on the recorded version, the song still had power and majesty.
The Maroon 5 hit Move Like Jagger which Aguilera appeared on, had her and her dancers moving to the front of the stage to bring the party to a climax. “You will know this one”, she teased as she introduced the LaBelle hit, Lady Marmalade.
A stunning return
Her excitement at being in Scarborough seemingly got the better of her as she missed the opening cue to Beautiful, though being the professional she is, within seconds she was back on form.
She left the audience with a message to “love yourself” with the song Let There Be Love, and the confetti cannons were back in action. The 8,000-strong audience had witnessed probably the best show to date at the open air theatre.
In a night that had elements of pop, R&B, Latin and rock, the concert had been an aural treat as well as a visual one, with many costume changes and special effects that surpassed any you might see in a West End show.
They will still be talking about the concert in years to come in Scarborough – and like the rest of the audience I was proud to be there. A stunning return indeed where Aguilera’s personality, talent and sentiment genuinely shone.