The year is only one week old but we’ve already witnessed what could easily be the best concert of 2014 — Pink at Target Center on Tuesday.
Her March show at Xcel Energy Center was unquestionably the top concert of 2013. And Tuesday’s was essentially a repeat performance. Except it was better. Much better.
With nearly 12 months of her Truth About Love Tour behind her, Pink seemed more confident, comfortable and playful — a better dancer (never her forte), a better all-around performer and an unstoppable joyous presence even if she was snarling in song about bruised relationships.
The takeaway last year was that Pink was the biggest daredevil and most accomplished athlete in pop music. And that’s still true.
She entered Tuesday doing bungee-cord bouncing three stories in the air. Later she did the splits while rotating over the stage and singing at the same time, she somersaulted from one end of the arena to the other (in a harness and sequined 5-inch high heels) while belting the rocker “So What.” And, of course, she reprised her spinning gyroscope cage during which she hung on without a safety belt while singing “Sober.” Never has sober been so dizzying.
Actually, the scariest moment came when Pink sat down at the piano. She admitted that she hadn’t touched a keyboard in two weeks and she wasn’t actually experienced to begin with. She seemed so preoccupied with her playing on “The Great Escape” that her vocals weren’t focused. But at least there was no question that she was singing live, and on other numbers she showcased her potent pop voice.
During the acrobatic numbers, it was debatable whether Pink was lip-syncing, but her performances were so jaw-droppingly did-she-really-do-that, who cared?
That she dropped three numbers from last year’s set including her breakthrough gymnastics bit — the baptismal bath in “Glitter in the Air” that she famously did at the 2010 Grammys — didn’t matter, either.
Pink also wisely ditched the hokey gambit of her concert being a pseudo-TV game show. Without that distraction, the 34-year-old Philadelphian got to interact with the 16,000 fans more often. She signed autographs in mid-song, accepted gifts for her 2-year-old daughter (and asked whether the quilt was homemade) and even accommodated a request for a body signature to be turned into a tattoo.
Pink seemed so real, so vulnerable yet resilient, so much a champion for underdogs — and so extraordinary as a concert performer that, whatever happens the rest of the year, Madonna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with her.