Saturday, April 06, 2013

LIVE FROM NEW YORK: P!NK Tells The 'Truth About Love'

Forgive the overdueness of this post. 

Back on March 22nd, my Mama Melismatic and I headed down to the iconic Madison Square Garden to see P!NK live via her 'Truth About Love Tour'. (Apparently, Tegan & Sara were there, too!) Despite her long tenure in the world of Pop ("There You Go", her debut single, was released back in 2000, people), this tour only marked her second time headlining a show at the Garden.

It was not the first time I nor my Mama had seen her live, however. I was already somewhat a fan when I saw her open for my boys in *NSYNC during their No Strings Attached tour in 2000 via the first of two dates at Albany, NY at the then Pepsi Arena. (Other opening acts that night included Innosense and Ron Irrizary.) At the time, "You Make Me Sick" hadn't yet become a single but I do remember her short set to be surprisingly theatrical in staging with a costume that was half black, half white (perhaps to show the infamous Theater Dichotomy of Comedy/Tragedy?). I walked away a fan that day and quickly copped her CD. A few years later, we together saw her again, this time on her own as the sole performer at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY, in a very intimate setting in support of her sophomore, and arguably very different from her debut, disc Missundaztood.

Fast forward ten years and we are seeing the same loveable, down-home P!NK, now a married woman and doting mother, with fourteen Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 -- the most recent being "Just Give Me A Reason", featuring Nate Ruess of fun..

We saw it all from the comfy seats of VIP (for those of you who are curious what the "special gifts"of P!NK's Silver Ticket Package get you: a cloth P!NK bag, a P!NK hat or "snapback" as the kids today say, a VIP lanyard, and a very warm, very cozy P!NK throw blanket emblazoned with "The Truth About Love". Mine currently sits at the end of my bed.).

The energy kicked up immediately thanks to her opening act in Swedish rock band The Hives, self described by their lead singer as  being "f*cking awesome" and he's right. Their short set was peppered with stagehands desperately trying to keep the peace as he and their lead guitarist strained against their mic/guitar wires as they went quite literally into the crowd as they petered in to the Garden.

It bares noting that The Hives started right at 8PM and had an acceptable length of a set before a few minor set changes, a little bit of intermission comedy via a Beetlejuice-like comic combed the audience before revealing himself as the Tour's MC and introduced P!NK, barreling right in to her #1 hit "Raise Your Glass". No long waits here -- just lively music and fun.

'Raise Your Glass', eh? Yes, there is rum in that Coke.

'The Truth About Love' tour was set up as a sort of game-show environment, attempting to teach you the real "truth" about love. In the end, that truth was revealed to be loving yourself foremost, because no one will be able to love you until you do. The set was padded with album cuts from P!NK's most recent album ("Walk of Shame", "Slut Like You", "How Come You're Not Here" and my personal fave, "Are We All We Are"). It also included a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Games" complete with choreography from her four handsome and muscular male dancers.

The majority of the night was a strong reminder of how long and varied P!NK's career has been with reference to the vast majority of her large hit catalog. She included towards the end of her set a medley of her three major singles from her ...Can't Take Me Home urban debut album which was a real highlight for me -- I think that album is completely underrated.

For "Who Knew" and "F*ckin' Perfect", P!NK and her guitarist came out into a stage piece within a sea of standing seats to perform the songs acoustically. The latter almost reduced me to tears and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

But the real highlight of seeing a P!NK show these days lie not just in her high-flying acrobatics (usually performed with no mat and no real wire to hold her in), but in how she manages to be so vocally strong live while performing such feats. It's really goosebump-inducing and noteworthy to say that none of her competitors,  some who I arguably grew up liking more (Christina Aguilera), would ever dare to perform this way 10+ years into their career. "Raise Your Glass" was performed upside down and all around high above the stage. "Try", arguably my favorite performance of the night, was similar to her American Music Awards performance of the song with some noted (and vigorous) differences. "So What" was performed almost entirely from a harness while soaring out (and flipping) over the very large crowd. And set closer "Glitter In the Air" was performed complete with water-soaked ending.

If I were to have any gripe at all, it would be the surprisingly lack of coverage from her Missundazstood days, including no "Get the Party Started" or "Don't Let Me Get Me". I suppose she can't perform all the hits -- girlfriend's just got too damn many.

To be perfectly honest, how the hell can any other popstar compare in my head after seeing a performance like that? No matter  your personal feelings toward her music, the show was athletically on point, everyone in the cast looked like they were having a blast, she looked unbelievable with some very revealing outfits showing off just how in shape she really is (I mean, Good Lord, and after a baby?), she remained so likeable and humble while consistently interacting with her dancers, her band and the crowd, and most importantly, she sounded incredible while doing athletically ridiculous things, often far above the audience's heads. People of Pop: time to step up your game. I will "raise my glass" to that, and to you, Alecia.

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