It’s a rare opportunity to get to a giant pop spectacular down at the Wells Fargo Center. There’s something really fun about a high-budget and giant-sized production full of pyrotechnics, dancers, LED screens, and of course for P!nk, aerial feats. Everyone knows now that P!nk’s an acrobat and a gymnast as well as a damn fine singer. She can belt, yes, but we also love her because she’s irreverent, a little crass, but all in a very down-to-earth way. That could be the Doylestown in her and that’s why it was a very sold-out night Friday night, complete with family members in the audience and generous displays of gift-giving in the form of flowers, teddy bears and love letters thrown on stage.
After a round of a cameraman focusing in on random pairs and groups of folks in the audience (there were a lot of women) kind of like a kiss cam, a creepy clown started messing with people near my section. He ended up being somewhat of an emcee, like a ringleader, and a kinky one at that. More on him later. She started with “Raise Your Glass,” already a classic in her catalogue after its release via her Greatest Hits… So Far!!! collection in 2010. And then we got “Walk of Shame,” full of awesomely sassy and struts, especially during the reprise of “we’re walking… we’re walking.” “Just Like a Pill” preceded one of my favorites, “U + Ur Hand,” it’s just classic P!nk: funky and pop radio perfection aided by a rock riff and an anthemic “Don’t fuck with me” chorus, a chorus that makes Kelly Clarkson drool. She did a “bad dancing song” in which she executed a variety of hilariously corny dance moves and encouraged the audience to play along. You know, the run, the sprinkler, the shopping cart, etc. In her pretend bad dancing, though, you could tell that she’s become a fantastic, experienced and well-rounded dancer over the past decade.
During an outfit change interlude, our kinky clown emcee delivered one of my favorite one-liners of the night when he was playing up the sex. When he was talking about fantasies and the fetishes we all have (leather, lace, underwear, socks, BDSM, etc.), he nodded to all the things that make us happy, like: “Rainbows and puppies and nipple clamps.” She turned in a flawless vocal performance of “Try,” which she did in the air, and came back down to do a cover of “Wicked Games.” She looked absolutely beautiful. She’s fit as hell but not overly so – there was a time when P!nk’s image was a little intimidating not only because she had so much punk attitude, but she also looked like she could beat you down. She still can. But her elegance has been honed and polished over time – her outfits were a perfect blend of rock (with spikes and black), evening wear (flowy and colorful), and a lil’ touch of circusy macabre.
She turned in a strong performance of “Just Give Me a Reason” with Nate Ruess beaming through a video feed (not live). Turns out this one’s her #1 hit on Spotify – guess the youngbloods must really love their delightful radio smash. “Trouble” came next, another staple in her old school catalogue, and then the bombastic and badass opener from The Truth About Love, “All We Are We Are.” She climbed into an orb to do “Sober” and it started rotating and moving and then more dancers climbed on and it was completely sick. She sat herself at a piano for the next one, “The Great Escape,” and explained that she’s slowly but surely learning to play the piano and the guitar, with the help of her band, and that she’s finally able to play full songs. Coulda fooled us. She sounded great and it was a moment where we got to see a little bit of the softer side of her that we know is there. She also did an acoustic version of “Who Knew” before blasting out “Perfect” and “Most Girls.” The throwback nod to her olden times, when she was way more thuggish ruggish and hip-hop, was a fun reminder of how America first got to know Alecia Beth Moore.
It’s wild to think that 2001’s M!ssundaztood is already 12 years old (and that she had just turned 22 when it came out). What I’ve always loved about P!nk is that she’s kind of like no one else. She’s a pop star at this point, this is clear, but has always basically blazed her own path. She’s a feminist and girl power hero but not in an anti-men way, just a hearty sense of “I don’t need you, dude” or “Sure, I’ll take a drink from you but you’re dismissed.” The short hair, the tough girl act (which we know isn’t an act), and she can dance like a professional – who can step to her? It was stunning taking in her flexibility and grace, even singing while upside down and spinning and not missing a single note. It’s been a little weird watching her get deeper and deeper into the aerials and acrobatics, but again, who else does it and does it while singing flawlessly? Have you seen her do “Glitter in the Air” at the 2010 Grammy’s? Just making sure.