You can raise a glass. I’m going sober and just adding an exclamation point.
On Tuesday at sold-out Xcel Energy Center, Pink — she prefers P! nk — put on arguably the most daring concert in the history of arena rock!
On the opening “Raise Your Glass,” she made her entrance hanging upside down three stories above the stage, holding the arms of some muscle-bound boys, and then singing while bungee bouncing. She performed “Sober” spinning in two different directions in a giant gyroscope-like cage suspended over the stage.
For the encore of “So What,” she went somersaulting (in a harness) in midair while flying all over the audience. Call it the new crowd surfing. And to top that, for the closing “Glitter in the Air,” she went all Cirque du Soleil, spinning and tumbling in a gold fabric over the stage before receiving a baptismal bath and rising again for another water-soaked spin, all while singing upside down into a handheld microphone.
Can I get an exclamation point!
If you prefer midair acrobatics (with lip syncing) to vocal gymnastics, this show was unquestionably for you. It was incredibly entertaining — way superior to Madonna’s and Lady Gaga’s. It set a standard that Rihanna (coming Sunday) and Beyoncé (due in July) will have to live up to. When it comes to being fearless, Taylor Swift (coming in September) has nothing on Pink.
But if you went to Xcel to hear that killer pop-rock voice that has led to three Grammys for Pink, you might have felt shortchanged. The emphasis was more on her body work than her body of work. She not only did her high-wire act but engaged in choreography (she’s not really a dancer) with her dancers, who paraded around with her like she was the queen of a Vegas floor show.
Thankfully, Pink dialed it down on occasion to remind us what a powerful and important voice she has. While Gaga is the pied piper of misfits and the misunderstood, Pink is the patron saint of underdogs and dorks. Her fans are mostly women — ages 10 to 60 in St. Paul — who rally behind her emboldening demonstration of vulnerability and strength.
Pink manifested those qualities, delivering “Just Give Me a Reason” with ebullient conviction and “How Come You’re Not Here” with R&B snarl and rock ’n’ roll swagger. Even more impressive were the ballads on which only a guitar or a piano accompanied her. Her slightly raspy, slightly soulful voice made you feel the dysfunction in “Family Portrait,” the longing of “Who Knew” and the empowerment in “[bleeping] Perfect.” Those performances were pretty darn perfect.
Putting this two-hour concert in the pink for the crowd of 16,000 was the pop star’s personality. Pink, 33, was effervescent, approachable and spontaneous. She complimented one fan for her very long and loud scream, thanked some folks from Nebraska who gave her a necktie (which she instantly put around her neck for the next song) and praised all the people for not fighting as her faithful in her hometown of Philadelphia did on Sunday.
In a word, Pink seemed just so gosh darn likable.
Can I get an exclamation point! And a ticket to her Nov. 2 concert at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Set list: www.startribune.com/artcetera.
Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719