Spotify was just a baby when it launched in October 2008. Bitcoin was merely an idea when Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper titled Bitcoin: A Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System the next month. A decade ago, the world was pretty different. 2008 was also the last time that Christina Aguilera went on a world tour, with her global trek in support of her 2006 album Back To Basics concluding with a performance in Abu Dhabi.
She’s kept busy since then, with a pair of albums (2010’s Bionic and 2012’s Lotus, neither of which she toured behind), television work, movie appearances, and even a big performance here and there. Playing an occasional few songs on stage at an award show is radically different than the rigors of an extensive tour, though.
Soon, Aguilera will head back out on the road. Very soon, actually: She just dropped her eighth album, Liberation, in June, and announced that her first tour in ten years will kick off in Florida tomorrow. She’s actually played a handful of shows already this year, and after seeing her performance at the Curaçao North Sea Jazz festival firsthand, I can confirm that she’s ready for her return.
Aguilera isn’t the only one making a comeback this year. The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival — a Caribbean spin-off of the flagship event in the Netherlands, which itself has been held annually since 1976 — was canceled in 2017 after it was unable to secure high-quality headliners (which they themselves admitted). This year, however, the fest did just fine on that front, with Aguilera closing out the final day of the event, which ran from August 30 to September 1. While there was the potential that she might need to kick off some rust after a period of relative dormancy, instead, she came across rested and eager.
Aguilera hit all the right notes (as this fan-made video of the performance’s highlights quite literally demonstrates) and never once took it easy during her 14-song set. She stuck to the classics (only playing one Liberation song, “Fall In Line“) and sounded powerful belting them out. She wasn’t about to let the world forget that she remains one of the most talented and technically sound singers in the history of recorded music, even after an extended break.
Speaking of history, she also took time during her set to honor Aretha Franklin. Aguilera previously performed Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” as part of a tribute to her during the 2011 Grammys, and at the time, Franklin was enthusiastic with her praise, writing on Facebook, “I LOVED it!” At North Sea Jazz, Aguilera again performed the song, as well as “At Last,” which was most famously recorded by Etta James in 1960, but which Franklin covered on her final album, 2014’s Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics.