“Love is sunshine and puppies, flowers and nipple clamps” (Rubix Von Füchenhürtz aka P!NK’s concert host Jimmy Slonina)
It’s a rare thing to turn up at a concert of one of your favourite music artists and feel like you really matter to the performer on stage. (Beyond, of course, buying the albums, T-shirts, tour programs, and the obligatory concert ticket.)
But then not every artist is like P!NK, gifted with that much fabled ability to make each and every attendee at her cavernous stadium shows feel like they’re sitting down for a bourbon and Coke, and a pithy, unadulterated chat about The Truth About Love with her, rather than merely one of a seething, excited mass of fans rather prone it must be said to multiple, and surprisingly well-timed, Mexican waves.
At every point in last night’s concert, P!NK managed to make each and every person there feel like they were the only reason she was there, the reason she was strutting in perfect time to a multitude of hits like “Just Like a Pill”, “So What” and “Sober”, the reason she attached herself to trapeze wires and performed singing upside down, or spectacularly flying across the heads of her fans.
And the only meaningful reason why she repeatedly and enthusiastically ran across, along and up and down a stage that was a fantastical blend of Southern plantation mansion and Rocky Horror Picture Show, or danced in perfect sync with her buffed and toned dancers, in a feat of fitness that would shame even the fittest of personal trainers.
Her genuine, unbridled enthusiasm for her fans, which went far beyond a platitudinous greeting or two, or guttural cries of “SYYYDNNEEEY!” was palpable (she went for a far warmer “Hey Sydney” as if greeting an old friend), lifting a perfectly choreographed, and timed show above mere rote and into the realm of genuine fan interaction, a rare occurrence at the best of times, but even more so when you’ve been around as long as P!NK (aka Alecia Moore), who broker out with her first hit, and a shock of pink hair, way back in 2000 with “There You Go”.
Yes, it was obvious this was a show into which great thought and planning had gone.
A show in which every person knew their place, where her Frank N. Furter-esque narrator’s sweet yet graphic monologues on the “glories of love … and the sphincter of sin” were works of beautifully-delivered pinpoint poetic art (he also entertained the crowd before the show, licking a bald head or two in the process) and where each and every song, including the covers of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and Cyndi Lauper’s touching “Time After Time”, were all in the set list for a reason.
And yet for all that planning, and the exquisite delivery, which combined acrobatics, amusing and beautiful video screen images, a string of amazing hits and a voice that is as a strong and arresting as ever, what stood out the most was that P!NK was having FUN.
Genuine, non-faked, I-am-having-a-ball FUN, drawing energy off the pink-clad people around her who held up signs, offered her plush kangaroo toys (“I shall call him … DUSTY!”), held out their arms for autographs (she obliged every time) and whooped and hollered with an infectious enthusiasm that was returned to them in spades by an artist at the top of her game who was clearly enjoying herself.
The devotion to her fans even extended to facilitating a marriage proposal from Courtney to Sheree/Shirley.
From the moment she burst out from under the stage singing “Raise Your Glass” clad in skin tight black lycra, attached to a bouncy trapeze cable which sent her soaring into the waiting arms of her muscular male dancers perched atop a glittering, gilded mini-stage in the air, through multiple costume changes (a black bikini/fetish wear chains anyone?) to the moment she soared across the entire stadium belting out “So What”, even stopping to do some push ups on one pillar, this was a woman determined to have as much as possible, bringing the crowd with her every step of the way.
It all goes to prove that true entertainers, people who live as much for their fans as much as their art, and draw true sustenance from interacting with them, are able to keep the enthusiasm palpable and real even after 80 shows because they honestly love what they do.
And as P!NK demonstrated through every note, and energetic footfall last night, she is every bit a true entertainer, making The Truth About Love tour one of the standout shows of the year.
The set list for the night (entered while watching the show, mouth agape at her feats of derring-do so please forgive any errors):
“Raise Your Glass”
“Walk of Shame”
“Just Like a Pill”
“U + Ur Hand”
“Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)”
“Wicked Game” (cover)
“Just Give Me a Reason”
“Are We All We Are”
“How Come You’re Not Here”
“The Great Escape”
Acoustic set atop stools with guitarist Justin Derrico, a man who owns 57 guitars according to P!NK)
“Time After Time” (cover)
“Perfect” (we supplied the F-bomb at P!NK’s request)
“Slut Like You”
“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”
Insanely acrobatic encore: