P!nk took Cirque Du Soleil to new heights with her Beautiful Trauma tour stop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday night, replete with funhouse comics projected on the screen and acrobatic moves that had concertgoers’ mouths drop.
A mix of family-friendly throwbacks from pre-show DJ KidCutUp set the mood for P!nk’s remixed vaudeville performance, created alongside Baz Halpin, producer and production designer of her The Truth About Love Tour – Live From Melbourne video documentary and Funhouse Tour: Live in Australia video. She wasn’t letting the beautiful trauma define her — despite the arena tour being titled after her seventh studio album of the same name — but rather her stage moniker: a playful color thought to be forgotten once you grew up, but P!nk’s music is as ageless as the color pink is childish.
Here are seven takeaways from the LA show that had fans remember “we’re all pink inside”:
P!nk Swings From the Chandelier During Her Opening Performance of “Get the Party Started”
The show began with an off-tune recorder playing the 20th Century Fox theme song by a man under two spotlights. The magenta curtains were elegantly poised as if concertgoers were attending a proper theatrical performance begging to be seen through opera glasses. But the curtains crashed down and the real spectacle began as her hit “Get the Party Started” roared from the speakers. Fans were welcomed to P!nk’s playhouse-meets-Cirque-du-Soleil fantasy, where metallic and sequined pink-clad acrobats flipped through the air and the singer herself swung from a chandelier while decked out in a black sequined jumpsuit, fulfilling Sia’s dreams and acting like Miley Cyrus’ predecessor of punk pop (queue “Wrecking Ball”). By swinging upside down, P!nk dynamically challenged a typical concert from “How can her vocal cords even handle this” to “Is she going to fall off?”
There Was an Inflatable Eminem Feature & Stop-Motion Animated Comedy Show for “Revenge Lyrics”
From her playhouse, spectators traveled to “Revenge Land,” an animated short prelude to P!nk’s “Revenge Lyrics” performance. Her voice could be heard over the Chicken Run-reminiscent characters running amok and being tortured with burning showers, asking, “Are you tired of your boyfriend?” Male characters entered the “unfun house” as she called it with a bleak spin of “It’s a Small World” to “It’s a Sad World” playing in the background as she temporarily flipped the Disneyland ride theme. Off-screen, real people dressed as the stop-motion comic characters and swung around the stage in agony. In P!nk’s revenge sermon, the ultimate man to pay the price was Eminem, the song’s featured act. While not physically present, a larger-than-life inflatable cartoon of Slim Shady appeared and waltzed onstage as he rapped his verse. P!nk then shot up from the stage and power-kicked the cartoon, deflating the physical statue and delivering our Saturday morning pastimes in real life.
She Brought Out Gwen Stefani & Performed No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” for a Throwback Thursday
The crowd had already been treated to comics from the funhouse, but P!nk’s “Funhouse” performance served a different slew of animations — from hamburgers growing eyes and ravenous mouths to multicolored, exploding alarm clocks to clownish kittens with faces that were anything but cute. But the loudest shrieks from the audience came when Gwen Stefani popped onstage to perform “Just a Girl” from her No Doubt days, sporting her signature platinum-blond ponytail with black tips. The ambience from the “Funhouse” portion of her set screamed rock concert, but there was no doubt — and even a portion of No Doubt — the eclectic pop P!nk is known for shimmered through the hardcore vibe.
P!nk and Her Dancer Flip Around Better Than The Greatest Showman Scene Between Zendaya & Zac Efron
While performing “Secrets” from her latest album, one of her backup dancers twirled around P!nk and eventually lifted her up with him, flipping the script on The Greatest Showman’s “Rewrite the Stars” scene when a trapeze artist (Zendaya) soared and flew through the air with the showman’s business partner (Zac Efron). Scratch that: She was the greatest show-woman — performing the daring stunt while scatting “Da da da da do do do,” like what she was doing was a “silly little game” as instructed by the end of the chorus.
The Concert Shows a Video Montage of P!nk’s Home Videos, Interviews, Music Videos, Marches & More
Making a statement is embedded in P!nk’s DNA, but her video montage of clips from her past and the country’s present, in lieu of women’s marches and the #MeToo movement, came to a humbling conclusion: “We’re all pink on the inside.” Her voice-over snippets discuss feminism, giving back and being human. “I need to know that my pain was helping your pain,” she said in the montage. It was a turning point in the show: P!nk at her most vulnerable state stepping up to the stage with unwavering vocals for slower songs to follow. We left the playhouse for her to just be herself, as the 38-year-old singer reminded the crowd that they’re all her — we’re fierce and our insides are the same color as each other’s even if our outsides aren’t.
P!nk Shares a Story About Her Daughter, Willow, Before Bringing Her Onstage for “Raise Your Glass”
P!NK remained authentic about her personal life when she shared an anecdote about her 6-year-old daughter Willow. “I’m the ugliest girl I know,” she recited to the crowd from their conversation. The impactful words popped up on the screen like a PowerPoint, which P!NK prepared for her daughter later about androgynous rock stars. Annie Lennox, Michael Jackson, Prince, Elton John and George Michael were just a few names the singer listed, which sent the audience in an uproar of praise. P!nk commandeered the celebration with her toast-happy anthem “Raise Your Glass,” as she saluted her daughter, whom she later brought onstage during the performance, wearing a red jumpsuit covering a sparkly jumpsuit underneath. It’s what’s underneath that matters anyway. Punk rock dancers stuck out their tongues and shimmied with their shoulders without a care, and P!nk raised herself too — quite literally. She was catapulted toward the ceiling, nearly ending the show where she started it, up in the skies dreaming and dancing.
She Swings Around the Whole Staples Center for her “So What” Finale
Being lifted upward wasn’t enough for the “Just Like Fire” singer. “I’m coming for you in the back!” she bellowed as her dancers seated her in a harness that would take her from the edge of the stage to the 300 level and all around the venue. There was nothing permanent or physical about the real ending of the concert. The ephemeral, fanciful swing showed that P!nk’s playhouse from the beginning of the set to the enchanted forest in the middle of the show to the haunted bedroom took fans around the many corners of her life, and we rode along for a few minutes with the mimicked sway of our phones following her fleeting silhouette.
In the history of traveling pop music outings, there’s probably never been a better first 10 seconds of any tour than the opening of Pink’s current show. After a small eternity in which the audience is left gazing at a reddish curtain, increasingly indented as unknowable pieces of staging are pushed into place, it suddenly drops and the crowd is immediately plunged into a “Get the Party Started” that appears to have already started a few hours earlier. A dozen bits of business are happening with the dancers, musicians and props, but at or hovering over the center of it all is Pink, hanging from a quadruple-scale chandelier that is already deep into pendulum mode.
The waste-no-time audaciousness of opening the show with this “joined already in progress” moment is kind of as if Cecil B. DeMille decided to dispense with preliminaries and start “The Ten Commandments” right as the parting of the Red Sea is happening, or the “Jaws” shark leaped out of the water in a jump cut right from the Universal logo. You had to suspect she was not getting the show’s climax out of the way before the opening chorus shifted to the first verse, but it was hard not to laugh out loud at the feeling that might be what was happening with this 0-to-120 turbo launch.
On Friday night at the Forum, the remaining two hours did not, in fact, register as an elongated anticlimax, with Pink’s ability to execute sequentially more impressive and physically challenging set pieces probably not coming as a surprise to anyone who’s watched two or more music awards shows this century. Friday’s show in Inglewood, following on the heels of other southern California arena dates in Anaheim, Ontario and across town at Staples Center, marked the closing night of the three-month, 38-city North American first leg of her “Beautiful Trauma” world tour. For any less severely athletic singer, the near-constant intermingling of dance and risk-baiting stuntwork might be a ticket to the trauma ward. But she makes “acrobat-diva” seem like the most natural career-day hyphenation in the world.
Cutting to the chase demands revealing what the real climax of the show actually is (this will be a spoiler only for those who plan on checking out the tour’s return to the states in March through May of next year, including a reprise visit to the Forum on April 19, 2019): That would be the penultimate number, “So What,” in which Pink turns herself into a human slingshot, zigzagging at slow and fast speeds through most of the airspace of the ticketed part of the arena, via a series of elastic contraptions that seem like they must be a life insurance salesman’s dream. I can say without too much fear of hyperbole that, in decades of concert-going and reviewing, Pink’s is the most “holy f—ing s—“ act of physicality I’ve ever seen as part of a pop show. That she almost certainly seems to be singing live during this and most of the other gyroscopic numbers was a cherry on top, in an age where most young divas cut to the pre-record the second the choreography kicks in.
Well, it’s more than a cherry. Pre-muscle mass, Pink’s vocal prowess was her original raison d’etre. And there are a few occasions in these couple of hours that she does shut off the gymnastics and sing — including the now-requisite semi-acoustic turn with some of her band members at center stage midway through the set, and again for the final encore number, “Glitter in the Air,” which feels like one of the few tunes where she’s not in the air at some point, on ropes or just being flipped over the backs of her dance squad. On these grounded occasions, you start to think: Wouldn’t it be nice if she could do at least a tour where she did nothing but show off her exquisite and powerful voice, foregoing the massive pageantry and really focusing exclusively on what’s at the heart of the music? But then she goes into another eye-popping showpiece, and you correct yourself: No. Let’s hope that never happens.
It’s worth noting, anyway, that Pink is touring behind one of her better recordings, also titled “Beautiful Trauma” (a little belatedly — those ropes and insurance take time to set up). And it wasn’t even a “video album,” so the opportunity to hear the material and experience it as more of an emotional experience than a Barnum & Cirque extravaganza is there… at home. She’s on a tier right now shared only by Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, the only solo superstars who are able to write or co-write bracingly autobiographical material and then turn it into the Greatest Show on Earth without seeming like they’re selling out the material’s original, personal impulses.
Pink is a little less concerned than Swift is on her current tour with trying to make each piece of the production fit the theme she’s singing about. Sometimes clever set design, like the melting lampposts in the opening numbers here, doesn’t need a lot of justification. A good pas de deux can fit a lot of love songs, of course. This show’s second-biggest corker, after the warp-speed solo elasticity of “So What,” is the mid-show “Secrets,” where Pink and one of her buffest male dancers take to ropes over the center ramp and do a visual duet that has them taking turns becoming a human platform to hold the other up… along with some more sensual interlocking. It’s the one time in the show where Pink did not seem to be wearing any kind of safety harness.
A couple of choices in the set don’t hold up to her best material. “Just Give Me a Reason,” her duet with Nate Ruess, is kind of looking for a reason to belong in the show — not least of all when Ruess appears on a video screen to recreate his part. Why do pop stars feel convinced that fans will balk if a celeb that contributed a featured vocal years ago isn’t represented on tape? The same problem seemed to afflict “Revenge,” her duet with Eminem from the latest album — at least until an amusingly caricaturized inflatable of the rapper that appeared to be 10 times Pink’s size was wheeled onto the ramp. She took to the ropes (naturally) to take some stabs at kicking the massive balloon’s head, though it perhaps didn’t go as planned on this particular night. “I think Marshall kicked my ass tonight,” she said afterward.
That was almost as rough as the language got, which may have been a surprise for anyone familiar only with the F-bomb-peppered explicit versions of her albums. “F—in’ Perfect” was rendered “You Are Perfect,” which loses a little in the G-rated translation. But Pink, who brought her own young daughter on stage with a giant lollipop at night’s end, is apparently okay with sacrificing a bit of her trademark directness for the chance to endow some of the mom-and-daughter couplings in the audience with empowerment messages. Without overselling the social conscience ingredient, these were present in a repeat of Pink’s pro-androgyny speech from last summer’s MTV Awards that covered for a costume-and-set change, and another awareness montage incorporating everything from her UNICEF ambassadorship to quick-flash call-outs for #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Resist, nasty women and marriage-minded gay men.
These messages were probably too blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em to deeply aggravate whatever conservative fans might have been on hand, but they did serve to add context to the song that followed, “What About Us,” as moving an expression of political ennui in downtrodden times as we’ve had in pop music. It’s as brilliantly subtle as protest songs get, and for once her cast of otherwise jubilant dancers was charged with the mission of looking a little beaten down. The depressed part of the show didn’t last long, but even a short acknowledgement of how badly we need the celebration the rest of the show represents was flippin’ perfect.
Extra kudos to Pink for not only calling out every one of her musicians and dancers during the course of the show — only one reason why it ran well over curfew — but for including a credits roll after the encore that acknowledged the rest of the principals, too. How else would we know that the great Bob Mackie was responsible for additional costuming?
P!nk vaults from No. 39 to No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart (dated May 26) to become the top musical act in the U.S. for a second total week, as her album Beautiful Trauma rockets 83-2 on the Billboard 200 (after previously launching at No. 1 last November).
Beautiful Trauma roars back up the Billboard 200 (earning 139,000 equivalent album units, up 1,715 percent, according to Nielsen Music), fueled by a concert/ticket album sale redemption offer tied to the next leg of her latest tour. P!nk first hit No. 1 on the Artist 100 on Nov. 4, 2017, as the set debuted atop the Billboard 200.
The Artist 100, which launched in July 2014, measures artist activity across key metrics of music consumption, blending album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.
Many people can only dream of the chance to sing their favorite artist’s song right in their presence. For 12-year-old Victoria Anthony, that dream came true at Pink’s concert in Vancouver on Saturday (May 12).
Back on May 1, Anthony shared a video of herself on Twitter directed to the “Beautiful Trauma” singer: “when you come here, I really want to sing at your concert,” she wrote. Anthony then gave a few examples of her incredible singing voice, including the hashtag #vicandpink in the caption to help gain traction and — hopefully — the attention of her idol.
After being picked up by Canadian news outlets, Pink recognized the young pop star in the making in the crowd at the show. While Anthony didn’t get to go on stage, Pink did hand her the mic — and was instantly floored.
Anthony belted out a flawless solo version of Pink’s hit “Perfect,” drawing a roaring applause from the crowd and a stunned response from the singer. Judging by her reaction, it’s safe to assume Pink thought Anthony was pretty “perfect” herself.
“Thank you for that,” the still-amazed Pink said after returning onstage. “How do you follow that?”
Watch Anthony give Pink a run for her money below, and see the video she tweeted that made it all happen.
Pink, a.k.a. Alecia Moore, might want to try trademarking the word “badass.” According to an (unscientific) estimate, around 96.5798% of things written about her use the word. Deservedly, for sure. She came out celebrating her — and every woman’s — rough edges at a time when other pop superstars were the epitome of sweetness. Then she started soaring above concert crowds, performing Cirque du Soleil-worthy aerial routines while hitting every note. She rides motorcycles, is quick with a perfect comeback for Internet trolls, and … well, there are many reasons the singer has earned the title. But ask when she’s felt most powerful, and there is not a second of hesitation to consider: “Right now.”
In the past year the singer has been nominated for a Grammy, won an MTV Music Video Award, nailed the national anthem at the Super Bowl despite having the flu, and released the chart-topping album Beautiful Trauma. Amazing accomplishments for sure, but if you want to know the true source of her current confidence boost, go back and listen to her MTV rallying cry-slash-acceptance speech, about teaching her daughter to love herself. When the singer and I spoke soon after the start of her latest tour, it was clear that nothing gives her a bigger surge than being a mom to her children with husband Carey Hart: 7-year-old Willow and Jameson, who is 18 months old.
Listen in as she shares what she’s learned, what scares her, and why she thinks all moms are badasses.
Do you see Alecia and Pink as two separate personalities?
Nope, but they’re both very tired [laughs]. I’ve never juggled so many damn plates in my life, but it’s because I want to. I enjoy it. If I had nannies raising my kids and just wanted to be a rock star and party all the time, I wouldn’t be successful and I wouldn’t be happy.
And now you’re on tour with the kids — how’s that going?
We’ve been on the tour bus for three days and I haven’t slept, so that’s great. I know this is going to be hard, but we’ll make amazing memories. When I left [for the Truth About Love Tour], Willow was 14 months, and I would come right offstage and breastfeed her. That was our bonding time and some of my favorite moments. Jameson is now doing the same thing.
Now that Willow’s older, do you worry she might miss life at home?
This is the first time she’s leaving behind friends and school and activities, so I asked if she wanted to do this, because we make family decisions. When touring stops working for the kids, if they decide they just want to be home and have a normal life, whatever that means, I’ll stop, because they are by far the priority. But I think it’s cool that they get to see their mom be the boss and work really freaking hard to realize a dream. I’d say it’s 95% positive.
What do you miss most on tour?
After every tour the first thing I do is I get in my car and I go to the grocery store. I walk up and down every aisle until it’s like, Oh, I’ve been here for four hours! Then I go home and cook. I miss driving myself places and cooking the most.
Does it bug you if a fan comes up to you in the store while you’re trying to zone out?
No, because I have this thirst for connection. I’ve gotten tears in supermarkets about something I said that helped the person. I think that’s pretty cool. You want to come cry with me? I will cry with you.
Really — you’re a big crier?
I am a total crier. I cry at commercials. I cry when the wind’s changing directions.
Has Willow ever said, “Mom, stop”?
Willow won’t cry ever, and it annoys me to no end. One day I had a sit-in at her school because I knew she was upset and she wouldn’t talk to me. I sat down on the pavement and I was like, “I’m not moving until you tell me about your feelings, because this is going to be a lifelong conversation for you and me and you have to learn to let me in.” Without batting an eye, she goes, “I promise to tell you more about my feelings if you promise to tell me less about yours.”
That’s intense and hilarious.
In my head I was like, Holy s–t! But I said, “Not going to happen. People pay me for my feelings.” She processes differently than I do, and it’s teaching me a lot about how to deal with people. I process out loud. She does it inside and it scares me a little, but I have to let her go through her process.
Do you ever wonder, Am I doing this right?
It’s a little scary sometimes because it’s new territory. I want to raise her to be strongand empowered; Jameson too. But nobody tells you how to do that or what that looks like day-to-day. That’s why I’m so grateful that I’ve found this group of incredible women who can understand these experiences. I never had a group of women friends before, and that’s been the most awesome thing about my 30s.
Who are they?
We moved to this cool farm town and made a lot of friends, so some are teachers and insurance salesmen and writers. Our kids go to school together, and we have sleepovers — and we all like tequila.
There’s this idea that you automatically become less rebellious when you become a mom. Do you think that’s true?
No, especially nowadays. If moms were ever silent, it’s about to stop. You start to focus less on what’s wrong for you and more on what’s wrong for the next generation. It mobilizes you. Some moms channel that into the PTA, and other moms channel it into marching for women’s rights, so moms need to be more rebellious than ever.
The venue where you played in Tulsa called you “Queen Badass” on the marquee. When have you most felt like one?
If I’ve ever deserved the title, it’s right now. I have my two kids with me. I’m working my butt off and feel really focused. I feel seen and heard and like the things I’m saying and showing are the right things. I just feel really proud of this journey.
You sound a little surprised that you’ve managed that. Are you?
Yeah. It used to be, “I told them I wasn’t going to be a piece of crap.” But now I’m like, “Wow. I guess I’m really not a piece of crap. I really did this. Look, Mom!”
“The thing about parenting is you never know if anything you’re doing is working,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “That’s been the most humbling thing for me. In my head, I sound amazing and then I turn around and her eyes are completely glazed over. I have no idea. We’ll see.”
Currently on her Beautiful Trauma tour, Pink, 38, describes her own upbringing in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, as “free range, I guess.”
“My mom worked full time and went to school full time. My dad was an insurance salesman,” she says. “My brother and I rode bikes to school and played in the woods all day. Lots of rescuing animals, tree climbing, sports, gymnastics. I had a good childhood.”
With her own kids, she has embraced more of an attachment parenting style. “Yeah, I believe in affection,” she says. “I believe in needs being met and faith being implemented, and I believe in letting your kids know they can count on you, and that you’ll be there. My parents obviously did not believe in that and I worked out okay. I always tell Willow, ‘I’m going to teach you the rules so that you’ll know how and when to break them.’ ”
The singer also strives to create a gender-neutral environment for her brood. “Absolutely. [But] I feel like gender-neutral is in itself a label and I’m label-less,” she says. “I don’t like labels at all so I believe that a woman and a girl can do anything.”
More than anything, Pink says she believes in “fairness and justice. And I believe that a boy can do anything. So I have boys that flip dirt bikes and I have boy friends that wear dresses. It’s all okay to me. It’s whatever floats your boat. So that’s the kind of house that we live in.”
As for her children’s future, Pink is more concerned with “just the world that we live in,” she says. “I have so many worries and fears as a parent. I’m such a worrier. They’re going to be fine. They chose this family. They know what they’re doing. But the world, I don’t know if the world’s going to be fine, and so I pray a lot. I cry a lot. I talk to them a lot. I hope a lot. I curse a lot.”
For now, she and Hart, 42, “try not to take life too terribly seriously,” Pink adds. “We laugh a lot. It’s all about our family unit and time spent together, and much less about external stuff.”