The Back to Basics Tour was Christina Aguilera's fourth concert tour launched in order to support her fifth studio album "Back to Basics."
The tour was officially announced in September of 2006 with dates of European venues revealed.
The tour visited Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia from late 2006 to mid 2007.
In October of 2008, three extra dates to Ukraine and the Middle East were added, becoming Christina's first concert in the Middle East.
The concert was divided into four acts: 1920s, Duke Joint, Circus and the encore. 1920s displayed performances mixing traditional R&B, funk, rock, and hip hop elements. Duke Joint featured Christina performing in a red sparkling bodysuit.
The performances on "Circus" employed a circus-inspired theme and the encore ended with a confetti rain.
The show garnered mixed to positive reviews from music critics. In a positive side, critics were favorable towards Christina's vocal performance and her outfits, as well as the background of the tour.
On the other hand, some critics were not impressed towards the setlist opined that her voice was "misguided."
The tour proved to be a commercial success, grossing over US$48.2 million overall.
In late July and early August 2007, Christina suffered from the flu which forced her to cancel four Oceania dates.
The show in Adelaide, Australia was filmed as a DVD entitled Back to Basics: Live and Down Under and was released in 2008 by RCA Records.
The show was divided into four sections: 1920s, Duke Joint, Circus and the Encore. It lasted for 90 minutes.
The 1920s displayed elements of traditional R&B, funk, rock and hip hop in the performances. It opened with a video introduction of "Intro (Back to Basics)."
As the video ended, Christina appeared onstage and performed "Ain't No Other Man" with eight back-up dancers dressed in sharp white suits.
Subsequently, she performed "Back in the Day" backed by her band as images of classic jazz and soul artists including John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye and Louis Armstrong appeared on the backdrop.
Next, she performed "Understand" in a mini-dress with long train and performed the salsa version of "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" which featured a reggae beat.
For the performance of "Slow Down Baby", Christina wore a white bodysuit; afterwards, she put on black lace thigh-highs and sang "Still Dirrty" featuring excerpts from "Can't Hold Us Down" as newspapers headlines such as "Christina goes from 'dirrty' to demure" and "Christina cleans up her act" flashed up on screens.
The second act "Duke Joint" began with an erotic video interlude of "I Got Trouble" featuring scenes of Christina touching herself on bed and bathing in an old fashioned bathtub. For the live performances during this segment, she dressed in a sparkling red bodysuit.
The performance of "Makes Me Wanna Pray" (which was backed by a gospel choir) featured her singing on the top of a piano while "What a Girl Wants" was remade in a reggae style.
The segment ended with Christina performing "Oh Mother" alone as images of a man repeatedly punching a woman as blood dripped from her face shown on the backdrop.
The third segment "Circus" opened with an interlude of "Enter the Circus" and a brief performance of "Welcome" which portrayed a circus-inspired stage as dancers swung on trapezes and breathed fire.
The performance of "Dirrty" (which incorporated elements from two compositions: "Cell Block Tango" from the Broadway musical "Chicago" and the classic march "Entrance of the Gladiators" by Julius Fučík) featured Christina performing while riding a carousel horse.
Next, Christina and her females dressed in sailor styled suits and paid tribute to The Andrews Sisters while performing "Candyman," recreating a World War II theme.
For the next number, "Nasty Naughty Boy," Christina dressed in a bra and shorts and expressed her S&M fantasy as she took a male audience member onstage and attached him to the Wheel of Death. Subsequently, she and her dancers playfully whipped around him.
For the follow-up "Hurt," she performed alone onstage in a plume outfit while a giant crescent moon descended from the ceiling.
The section concluded with "Lady Marmalade," during which Christina performed in a cotton-candy pink embellished corset.
The encore began with a video interlude of "Thank You (Dedication to Fans...)" featuring excerpts from her previous music videos and voice mails from her fans.
Christina performed "Beautiful" alone onstage before ended the concert with "Fighter" at the end of which confetti rained down.
The 2008 setlist of the Back to Basics Tour was slightly similar to the 2006-07 setlist, but was shorter and did not have the encore due to the show's complexity.
The electropop version of "Genie in a Bottle" entitled "Genie 2.0" was performed before the closing song "Fighter."
- Intro (Back To Basics)
- Ain't No Other Man
- Back In The Day
- Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)
- Slow Down Baby
- Still Dirrty
- I Got Trouble
- Makes Me Wanna Pray
- What A Girl Wants
- Oh Mother
- Enter The Circus
- Nasty Naughty Boy
- Lady Marmalade
- Thank You (Dedication To Fans...)
After the United Kingdom leg, the Back to Basics Tour gained a huge number of tickets sold and revenue, with the tickets sold out in Dublin and Birmingham.
Combined with the Belgium show, Billboard Boxscore calculated that the European leg of the tour garnered about $7.8 million.
For the North America leg, although Billboard Boxscore did not calculate the attendance and gross for each date, the forty-one date run grossed a total of $28,921,000 with 391,700 tickets sold (but none of the shows were sold out).
After ten concerts held in Asia in early-July 2007, the Back to Basics Tour grossed $43,566,000, became the second highest grossing concert tour as of mid year 2007, only behind Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveShow" (with $52,187,000 grossed).
Christina initially planned a six date tour for the Australian leg. Subsequently, all of the tickets for the six dates had been sold out, leading her to expand the tour for three more dates in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Four other dates for Melbourne and Auckland (New Zealand) were also planned, but they were cancelled due to Christina suffering from the flu.
By the end of its 78 date run across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia throughout 2006 and 2007, the tour garnered a total of $48.1 million, becoming the highest grossing concert tour by a female of the year.
With three more shows in Kiev, Ukraine and Abu Dhabi, UAE, the tour grossed $48.2 million overall.
At the 2007 Billboard Touring Awards, the Back to Basics Tour received two nominations: "Breakthrough Act" and "Top Package."
The Back to Basics Tour received mixed to positive reviews from music critics.
Sarah Godfrey from The Washington Post criticized the setlist and Christina's "overconfidence" during the show.
Dave Simpson of The Guardian gave the tour a two out of five stars rating, calling the song selection for the setlist "equally confusing" and opined that the tour was "delivered in a similar Mariah Carey tinnitus-inducing wail and the subject matter, generally, is that X-Tina is fantastic, is tough, is a victim and still enjoys sex - though hopefully not at the same time."
Critic Kitty Empire from The Observer and Dave Tianen from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that the songs on the show did not go well with each other.
An editor from Manchester Evening News opined that the concert had "unusually-genuine message of empowerment" and compared its setlist to Britney Spears' The Onyx Hotel Tour.
In a journal for The Press of Atlantic City, Regina Schaffer noted the similarities between the show and Madonna's Confessions Tour and was not impressed towards the makeovers of Christina's previous singles, such as "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" and "What a Girl Wants."
Writing for The New York Times, Kelefa Sanneh called the tour "disappointing" because of Christina's "misguided" voice.
On a more positive side, Cameron Adams from the Herald Sun and Cathy Garcia from The Korea Times praised her vocals on the Back to Basics Tour.
Jim Farber from the New York Daily News praised the show's accompaniment with a "horn-punctuated" band, the background visuals and the choreography, but called out Christina for her oversinging.
An editor of the South China Morning Post, Paul Kay provided a positive review toward the tour, applauding its synopsis and Christina's voice.
Katie Boucher writing for the Abu Dhabi journal The National complimented the concert's setlist and Christina's attitude, writing that "you couldn't fail to be impressed by her spirit."
Likewise, The Miami Student's Nicole Smith opined that "she really does prove that she is a fighter, through domestic violence, deceit and the basic wear and tear of fame."
Barry Walters from Rolling Stone wrote that:
"Whereas Madonna pioneered her brand of bustier feminism with knowing finesse, Aguilera and pals opt for strip-club bombast, even when belting pro-female anthems. Now more woman than girl, Aguilera's looking and sounding stronger than ever, but could benefit from a little adult nuance."
Joey Guerra (on a review for the Houston Chronicle) praised Christina for being "no mere copycat" but "[taking] essential pieces from other performers, other sounds, other eras and blends them into her own sexy style," further concluding that Christina "claims her pop throne."
Daily Trojan's Michael Cooper labelled the tour "an almost-perfect pop concert" and commended on the show's "eye-catching" background and Christina's costumes.
- Tour Director – Jamie King
- Musical Director – Rob Lewis
- Choreographer – Jeri Slaughter
- Costume Design – Roberto Cavalli
- Shoes – Christian Louboutin
- Tour Promoter – AEG Live
- Tour Sponsors – Verizon Wireless, Orange, Sony Ericsson
- Guitar – Tariqh Akoni and Errol Cooney
- Bass – Ethan Farmer
- Drums – Brian Frasier-Moore
- Saxophone – Randy Ellis and Miguel Gandelman
- Trumpet – Ray Monteiro
- Trombone – Garrett Smith
- Percussion – Ray Yslas
- Background Vocals – Sha'n Favors, Sasha Allen (North American & Pacific Leg), Erika Jerry and Belle Johnson (European Leg)
- Dancers – Paul Kirkland, Kiki Ely, Tiana Brown, Dres Reid, Gilbert Saldivar, Monique Slaughter, Nikki Tuazon, Marcel Wilson and Jeri Slaughter
- Stylist – Simone Harouche
- Hair & Make-Up Designer – Steve Sollitto
- Concert Video Design – Dago Gonzalez for Veneno, Inc.