The truth about P!nk the rock star? Unlike your other mega-sellers, Alecia Moore is not a brand; she’s an individual interested in pushing her own boundaries to the max. That means always taking on new challenges – and not being afraid to stuff up in front of 15,000 people while she’s at it.
Tonight we witness her extremely adept acrobatic skills – she makes her entrance to ‘Raise Your Glass’ on aerial silks – as well as a turn on the grand piano (yes, she fluffs ‘The Great Escape’ as she predicted, but did so charmingly); and a spot of drumming.
This 18-day stint in Melbourne (the biggest market in the world for the artist if we go by ticket sales), is more a circus come to town than a promotional vehicle. By rock star standards, there’s a distinct lack of self-adoration on stage tonight. Any posturing is for the joy of it, rather than for looking covetable. I mean, I dance like P!nk in the privacy of my home, in between eating cheese.
At least, that's my belief until we come to ‘Try’, in which P!nk stops staggering and leaping, and instead pirouettes gracefully above us for some aerial work, before recreating that incredible, gravity-defying dance of the video.
At times, the night’s agenda can come across like an 'emancipation of young ladies' checklist...
- Healthy-looking bodies
- Plenty of women (too many to be token) in the band
- Practicality over vanity (P!nk’s brow is unblemished by Botox. This is evidenced by plenty of trademark “WTF” expressions)
- Female dancers calling the shots sexually over the men before all becoming good friends
...though that's not a bad thing when a section of your fanbase is more accustomed to seeing plastic pop stars sluzzing around the stage. It can requires some rapid adjustments by the audience, though. One minute P!nk seems to target the kiddie-winks – such as with ‘Blow Me (One Last Kiss)’, which sees the dancers transformed into a zany, Scooby Doo crew; the next she's belting out ‘Slut Like You’ for the ladies in the house. There are also a few wrestling-in-underwear moments that I suspect my dad would enjoy.
P!nk hits high notes like a force of nature, never more so than when she duets with an on-screen Nate Reuss in 'Give Me a Reason', but the best part of the evening – and I suspect this is the first and last time in my life I’ll say this – is the acoustic part.
As she sits knee-to-knee with guitarist Justin Derrico, we hear a rendition of ‘Who Knew’ that showcases P!nk’s voice more beautifully than anything lost in layers of production. Her stripped-back cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ is much more effective than an earlier tribute to Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, which had all the sincerity of an aftershave ad (L’Ho-Homme?).
Such intimacy also gives us an insight into P!nk’s character – her warm interaction with fans should convince the most hardened cynic of its genuineness. I’d also like to think that the roadies dancing like lunatics side-of-stage aren’t getting a bonus for that carry-on.
The set, clocking in just under two hours, winds up with ‘So What’. In this, a harnessed-up P!nk flies the entire length and breadth of the arena with the unadulterated glee of Tommy Lee or David Lee Roth, back when these bombastic excesses were first dreamed up. As the song goes, she’s a rock star, she’s having more fun… and happily for us, it’s the contagious sort.