After a set of spirited mashups of ‘80s hits and old-school hip-hop, DJ Kid Cut Up packed up his things and left the Talking Stick Resort Arena stage so Pink could properly launch her Beautiful Trauma Tour.
A ringmaster sporting a suit jacket and shorts whistled the crowd to attention. The curtain lifted and Pink and crew got the night going with “Get the Party Started."
In her world, ain’t no party like an acrobatic party. And an acrobatic party is what the crowd got.
Clad in sparkles and suspended above her band and dance crew, Pink glided up and down with the aerial flair that fans have come to love as one of her skills.
Her team below created a booming sonic foundation as she twirled about, singing. Their energy was palpable, making it clear they were polished to perfection and ready to deliver the goods on this opening night.
Once she lowered herself and untethered from her sky ropes, Pink utilized as much of the stage as she could – strutting and dancing on and across every space, from a movable walkway to stairs on either side.
Her voice was booming, solid with that combo of rawness and power that sold her to so many fans. Though the backup singers pick up a lot of the slack while she is in continuous motion, she gets major kudos for maintaining singing strength while she’s flying through the air in pretzel-like positions. Her voice never wavered.
She got a few songs in before greeting the crowd, noting the mystery and excitement that goes along with an opening night. “Just like you,” she said, “I have no idea what’s gonna happen. Let’s do this."
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If there was a theme to the night, it was personal power: “You do you,” despite the naysayers. She drove that home with a video highlighting recent feminist activism, and another that she presented at the VMAs regarding a conversation she had with her daughter, who’d been facing adversity at school over what other kids were calling her “boyish” looks.
Plenty happened during the 21-song set; most of it was good. Frosting her song “Funhouse” with select parts of No Doubt’s hit “Just A Girl” felt a little lacking. It might have been better if they went ahead and covered the song.
Following that by asking “Who wanted to be a punk rock singer in the ‘90s?” and jumping into a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was also a bit on the cheesy side. Know how sometimes a smeared-lipstick, unintelligible Courtney Love shows up on news segments blathering something territorial about Nirvana? This was one of those times you kind of wished that would happen.
Otherwise, Pink was a tour de force. She mixed up a combination of new material and older stuff, and her on-point band of killer rock and rollers added a crisp edge to the overall sound. Of her earlier work, fans got super-roused by tunes like “Perfect” and “So What."
The aerial activity peppered the entire night. At times it was Pink flying solo, at others she was with a dance partner. In either case, she is not fucking around. She’s made a real commitment to excelling at it.
Surely, she could sustain a show without it, but as she continues to ramp up her maneuvers, it seems to have become integral to the live Pink experience. Her final flight, near the show’s end, was spectacular as she traveled to the venue’s farthest and highest sections.
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The crowd kept the cellphone lights glowing as she wrapped it up with “Glitter in the Air,” before capping the opening night party and letting the drop-floor stage lower her into the ground.
As above, so below. For the devoted fans, her compelling presence was felt no matter where she was in the room.
"Get the Party Started"
"Just Like A Pill"
"Funhouse / Just A Girl"
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana cover)
"Just Give Me a Reason"
"I’m Not Dead"
"Just Like Fire"
"What About Us?"
"I Am Here"
"Raise Your Glass"
"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"
"Glitter in the Air"
Last Night: Pink at Talking Stick Resort Arena
The crowd: Mixed bag of fans with their own variations of Pink’s hairstyle
Overheard: “Um, what’s happening here? These props are pretty mystical. Is she about to do a Led Zeppelin song?”
Notebook dump: Enough with the rain of confetti at every arena show.