Pink thrills Verizon Center with spectacle and songs

March 15, 2013

Pink’s first major tour was in the year 2000. She opened for ’N Sync at the height of our nation’s last boy-band, teen-pop craze, and back then, she was the neon-haired, smokin’-in-the-girls-room alternative to the ruling class of coy, blond Britneys, Mandys and Jessicas.

Thirteen years, six albums and three Grammys later, the feisty little bird-flipper with a heart of gold has turned out to be the true overachiever of that bunch — and Thursday night, she reminded fans packed into a sold-out Verizon Center why she’s come to be recognized as one of this generation’s most consistently and dependably entertaining performers.

Pink’s latest tour is a frothy, funny, high-gloss arena spectacle that showcases her 2012 album “The Truth About Love,” a collection acclaimed for its warts-and-all frankness in explaining exactly what it promises: that love sometimes feels like a blissful, fizzy-champagne intoxication, and sometimes it feels like a grim, temple-rubbing hangover.

The first lights came up on an upside-down, Catwomanesque Pink hanging from the upper rafters of her set singing the opening notes of the boozy 2010 anthem “Raise Your Glass.” “Walk of Shame” then ushered in Pink’s four female backing dancers, cleverly dressed in stockings and men’s dress shirts — and marking perhaps the first time a drunken stumble has been incorporated into a choreographed dance routine.

She invited the fans to get in on the shenanigans. “You guys know how much of a dork I am,” she said with a grin and asked the audience for “the worst dancing I’ve ever seen, for the next three minutes.”

The show soon moved into its morning-after phase with angstier fare such as “Just Like a Pill,” “Try” and an earnest acoustic rendition of the broken-home elegy “Family Portrait.”

But refreshing goofiness, candor and face-melting vocals aside, no review of Pink’s live show would be complete without a humbled, reverent mention of the things she can physically achieve onstage. By the time she belted out the ballad “Glitter in the Air” while suspended upside-down, contorted into a back-bendy yoga pretzel, soaking wet with water, she had also sung — well, benefit of the doubt — while break dancing, while pole dancing and while performing Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics suspended in midair. She even spent a few minutes flying around the upper tiers of the arena on a set of cables, doing back flips to “So What,” occasionally pausing to alight daintily on top of a pillar, poised on the toe of one gold-sequined heel. (In other words: Your move, Beyonce.)

A decade or so ago, Pink was a kid playing chicken with live-coverage censors when she brought her dog — which she mischievously gave an unprintable name — as a red-carpet accessory to an awards show. Today, she’s a doting mom with some choice words for anybody who’s got a problem with breast-feeding in public. The circumstances may have changed, but Pink remains the same ridiculously talented, high-energy, good-hearted rascal she was a generation ago. Let’s hope that in another 13 years, she’s still at it.

Fetters is a freelance writer.

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