Occasionally I have to eat my own words and this may be one of those times where I choke on those from a previous post. Over the years I have listened to a smattering of P!nk songs here and there. I could name most of her big hits and easily identify a P!nk song on the radio. Listened to in isolation and often the same tune that was being overplayed as a top 40 song of the week, I’ve never really seen much depth in her lyrics.
When I listened to P!nk’s music as a collective at her December 2nd Toronto performance, I realized the range of content her songs cover has matured. P!nk has grown, but when she still reminds us through songs like “Slut Like You”that “I’m not a slut, I just love, love,” I can’t help but thinking she still has some growing up to do. And maybe that’s part of the allure for all her fans. For me, it detracts from the strength of any message she’s trying to send.
She certainly delivers one hell of a mesmerizing, energy-packed show, kicking it off with one of my favourites, “Raise Your Glass“, and immediately setting the bar for a strong aerial performance. As much as this song is an anthem for the underdog, it appeals to the nitty, gritty, dirty little freaks hidden in all of us.
The culminating experience of the performance happened for me when P!nk suspended from a giant, metal orb. Nimbly spinning and swirling outside and inside the sphere with her team of dancers as I heard the lyrics, “I’m safe up high. Nothing could touch me,” I couldn’t distinguish between the beauty of the performance, and the artistry of the sphere itself.
Of course, such a physically demanding performance means P!nk can’t sing all of her songs live. She has to rely on her back-up singers and a track to carry her through the aerial performances. Quality is never a diminishing factor though because P!nk delivers in spades on her live numbers. Her rendition of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” is nothing short of inspired. Her impressive vocal range is also showcased in an acoustic sit-down with her guitarist for “Who Knew” and “Perfect.” Vowing she will always learn a different talent for every tour, P!nk awed everyone with her newly acquired piano skills.
Frequently stopping to collect audience mementos for her 2 year old daughter Willow, P!nk interacts with as many of the audience members as she can. Clearly, she’s developed a soft spot for children and tells the audience she’s going to leave the F bomb out of “Perfect” but they can feel free to sing it. “You just can’t swear in front of three year olds,” she says.
Tumbling barely above and over and over the audience in an aerial finale that brings her closer than ever to her fans and has her landing on platforms strategically placed in the audience before she’s swept up to the highest point of the ACC, P!nk ends her show on a high note with a song representing one of the low points in her relationship with husband, Carey Hart. So what. It was awesome.