Christina Aguilera made a rare live appearance last Thursday at Chicago radio station B96’s Halloween Bash, offering four tracks from her new album, “Stripped,” due tomorrow (Oct. 29) from RCA. Although the artist is booked on a host of TV shows in the coming weeks, a number of those appearances will not include a live performance. On this night, she quickly showed off her new nasty side surrounded (and at points, groped) by scantily-clad dancers during runs through the single “Dirrty” and “Get Mine Get Yours.”
Aguilera suddenly changed tone, declaring to the crowd how proud she was to have written material for this album, and how “deeply personal” and “introspective” it is. Perched on a stool with three backing singers, she started and stopped “Beautiful,” after the backing track skipped. Instead, Aguilera led the other vocalists through an a cappella rendition of the song. The brief set closed with the bluesy, soulful “Impossible,” which was co-written with Alicia Keys.
Earlier in the night, Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott offered short sets that seemed a bit lacking in inspiration. Elliott, who struggled through a recent live performance in New York, ran through the hit single “Get Ur Freak On” and her latest hit, “Work It,” but spent about as much time shilling for a new contest on her Web site as she did performing.
LL Cool J raised the energy level considerably with his own 50-minute set. Decked out in a Jalen Rose Chicago Bulls jersey, cut-off jeans, and a huge belt buckle proclaiming the title of his new Def Jam album, “10,” he later stripped down to just the jeans, tossing roses and towels to the crowd as fireworks and confetti erupted around him.
Though in clear discomfort (he mentioned something about bad Chinese food and drank ginger ale during his set), Shaggy did his best to keep the crowd engaged during tracks such as “Luv Me Luv Me” and the former Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “Angel.”
The event was B96’s second annual Halloween Bash. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Eve, Lil’ Mo, Fabolous, Craig David, and Afroman performed at last year’s event.