The third time can be more charming than ever. At least with Pink.
For the third time in 14 months, the pop princess from Philadelphia rocked the Twin Cities. Her sold-out performance Sunday night at Xcel Energy Center — a return visit of her 20-month Beautiful Trauma Tour — may have lacked the sense of discovery of her daringly spectacular March 2018 Xcel show (which took place in the first month of the tour). But in some ways, this one was more enjoyable.
One, Pink did not have a cold this time. Illness plagued her last year in the Twin Cities both in March and February, when she did a stripped-down show at the Minneapolis Armory before singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Two, Pink performed two new songs Sunday from “Hurts 2B Human,” the album she released on April 26. Having her deliver two tunes straightforwardly, without the elaborate production that has made her such a remarkable arena attraction, was refreshing for her — and anyone who’d witnessed last year’s show at the X.
Three, after giving a recorded spiel about a pep talk she’d given her 7-year-old daughter, who complained that she was the ugliest girl in school, Pink roared through “Raise Your Glass,” one of her many uplifting, message-filled numbers. And in the middle of the song, her daughter ran onstage to a triumphant reaction.
So, too, were the few spontaneous moments when Pink interacted with some of the 16,000 fans.
From one concertgoer, Pink accepted — and proudly wore — a ball cap, emblazoned with “Make racism wrong again.” Then she pointed out that her mom wears a cap with the words “make America gray again.” Said Pink: “She’s a 75-year-old Jew in Florida.”
When the pop star noticed a sign from a 9-year-old fan at the concert with her own mother, Pink, 39, remarked: “You’re so much cooler than I was at 9.”
Self-deprecating humor is part of Pink’s thing. But so is self-analysis and self-love, affirmation and empowerment, and rooting for misunderstood underdogs like herself. She dedicated “What About Us” to the #MeToo Movement, LGBT community and Black Lives Matter, earning a resounding ovation.
Other pointed pieces resonated, including “I am Here,” a harmony-filled hootenanny that found Pink and her players at their most exuberant.
“Hustle” featured a new number from her good but not great new album, with a typical don’t-mess-with-me attitude set to a syncopated jazz beat. The selection was refreshing in both sound and its lack of stageyness.
But the stagecraft is what sets Pink apart. A potent singer with a joyous, approachable personality, she undertakes the boldest, most physically ambitious performance in the history of pop. Beyoncé may be more purposeful and Taylor Swift more extravagant, but no one has more derring-do than Pink.
On the opening “Get the Party Started,” she arrived hanging onto a chandelier and proceeded to somersault in the air, do dive bombs and sing upside down.
Equally exciting but more artful was her pas de deux in the air with a male dancer during “Secrets.” At times, it was her hanging upside down with merely her feet positioned between his limbs for safety. Yikes! It was so breathtaking that I can’t even tell you what the song was about.
And, then there was the tour de force, during “So What”, as Pink soared full speed ahead over the entire arena, somersaulting as she sang or lip synced. Who cares if she was lip syncing? It’s such an OMG moment that you can’t help be awed — and charmed — even if you’re seeing it for the third time.