Photos by Jim Mimna
The Scene: The Pepsi Center was packed with a much older crowd than we anticipated on Sunday and there was a hard and Punkish feeling about a lot of the crowd we were rubbing shoulders with as tattoos, piercings, and many different hair colors abounded. Women strutted proudly with their men, boyfriends held hands with their boyfriends, and groups of girls reveled in a night on the town.
As a cheesy comedian (who later turned out to be Rubix, the show’s master of ceremonies) warmed up the crowd we were surprised by how many people seemed to be eating up his antics as he licked a bald guy’s head and cracked corny jokes. It was a spectacle for sure, but it didn’t really seem to fit with the high energy, big budget, acrobatic production that was soon to follow.
P!NK: After a CoverGirl commercial featuring P!NK aired on the screens above the stage, the stage went dark and Rubix appeared to introduce the main event. The clock was pushing 9:30 when P!NK exploded into view from under the stage strapped into a bungee cord apparatus and singing one of her biggest hits: “Raise Your Glass.” She flipped through the air with several other acrobats while dancers on the multi-level stage below gyrated in front of an array video screens that flashed brilliant graphics. As if that wasn’t enough, the over the top number ended with pyrotechnics shooting across the stage.
From the beginning one thing was perfectly clear, this was going to be as much a Cirque Du Soleil style acrobatic show as it was a Pop concert and judging by the sound in the cavernous room, “concert” might have been the last thing on the production managers mind. It really can’t be overstated, the bass overpowered everything and P!NK herself sounded very muffled which was really too bad since she is known for incredibly strong singing voice which sounded fantastic when the show slowed down midway through the set. With all that said, it was still incredibly impressive that she was able to sing while completing the physically challenging stunts (and yes, according to most of the information that’s out there she is singing during her live show).
Between songs P!NK shattered many of they stereotypes of big budget Pop shows when she proved fairly down to earth as she shared relevant banter with the crowd and even noted the Broncos victory in the AFC Championship game played earlier that day when she said “Thanks for bringing me here as your after-party entertainment.”
Between “Leave Me Alone” and “Try” Rubix appeared again and delivered a monologue about all types of fetishes before a big burst of flame blinded us and P!NK rose up into the air on two black ribbons. She spent the much of “Try” spinning and flipping high above the stage but it was her performance during “Sober” that was truly unbelievable. As ominous music filled the arena, a spinning spherical cage of metal descended from the ceiling and P!NK stepped inside. She tip-toed around the outside of it and was soon joined by several other acrobats who ratcheted up the energy of the performance as they threw it off balance and held her dangling far off the stage. It was without a doubt one of the most challenging and complicated acts of the evening and it really demonstrated her strength and talent as an acrobat. At one point P!NK and two other women were inside standing straight up while the cage spun around and others were hanging from the outside. To give a real feel for the intensity of the stunt, the screens on stage cut to a shot from the inside of the spinning globe and the crowd went wild.
Though most of the show was incredibly high energy, P!NK did slow things down a bit for a two song including “Who Knew,” which she performed accompanied by only an acoustic guitar, and “The Great Escape” which P!NK herself performed on piano. She introduced the song by saying that she always wants to better herself each tour and last time out she learned a whole song on the guitar, so this time around she learned a whole song on the piano. She introduced her pianist and said he was there to bail her out if she got into trouble. The sparse arrangement showed off her vocal talent and when it came to an end she revealed how relieved she was that it was over (again endearing herself to her legions of fans).
From the acrobatics, to her voice, to the tender moments, this production had it all, but when the encore rolled around they pulled out all the stops. Less than a minute into “So What,” from her 2008 album Funhouse, P!NK launched herself from the stage and flew high above the crowd and way out over the arena floor. It was breathtaking as she flipped and soared through the air eventually settling on a tiny podium at the back of the arena where the cheap sets suddenly became the best ones in the house. At one point she was probably 40 or 50 feet off the floor of the arena as fans screamed below. What a way to end one of the biggest productions in Pop music!
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: A