OOPS ... she did it again! Christina Aguilera, who beat out Britney Spears for "Best New Artist" at the Grammys, eclipsed her again this weekend as she closed a 35-city tour with a hot 70-minute show at the Stan Sheriff Center.
depth of talent
By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin
Aguilera's sold-out Hawaii debut was a bigger and better experience than Spears' general admission free-for-all in April. Despite the relatively limited access to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa quarry, the logistics for Aguilera's show were far superior.
Aguilera and promoter Tom Moffatt also made local music history in staging the first pop music show in the venue.
Hawaii's top two contemporary pop vocal acts distinguished themselves well as her opening acts. Brownskin -- Nito Larioza and his one-name partners Roni, Lawrence, Keo and Michael -- reaffirmed their status as Hawaii's top contemporary pop vocal group with a powerfully choreographed set capped by "Until You Come Home." DisGuyz, a last-minute addition to the bill, gave a strong visual performance that earned squeals of approval from young fans.
Aguilera's voice was a bit raspy when she spoke, but there was no holding back when she sang. She opened with "Genie In A Bottle," the pop number that launched her as a national phenomenon and established her as Spears' peer and closest rival.
"Genie" was presented in a tremendous power-rock arrangement with the help of backing singers and six dancers . It was one of the highlights of the show.
Acknowledging the success of her "Mi Reflejo" Spanish album, Aguilera launched into "Falsa Esparanzas" and dedicated "Love For All Seasons" to her mother. She mentioned some "hard times" in the past year but said nothing directly about her management or rumored liaisons with male celebrities.
AGUILERA'S costumes were variations on a theme -- snug jeans and midriff-baring tops. Several young fans and their parents commented approvingly that while the costumes were attractive, they were still in good taste. Unlike Spears' show, there were no accidents with anything slipping awry or zippers popping open.
Parents chaperoning pre-teens were a considerable part of the crowd. Even so the mean age seemed to be around 13. The crowd included local teen talents Brittney Anelaikalani Jennings, Janel Parrish and Jennifer Perri. World Cafe's Rick Rock, Hawaiian Ryan and Sam The Man of Jammin' 93.1, KRTR morning guy Paul Ogata and Jamin "The Chief Ragga" Wong were among the adults who witnessed Aguilera's triumphant Hawaii debut.
The fans were there for the songs on her septuple-platinum debut album, but Aguilera included two others that showed wider musical horizons. "At Last" proved beyond doubt that she can also sing the blues. "All Right Now" showed she can handle hard rock as well.
"I Turn to You" and "When You Put You Hands on Me" were two more highlights. "What A Girl Wants" was perfect as her encore.
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