By Chris Tuite
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — In a world full of fabricated pop stars and fake sentiment, Pink separates herself as one of the most genuine. Her full arsenal of talents was on display at Oracle Arena on Friday night, leaving concert goers in awe, not knowing whether they saw a pop show, a rock spectacle or high-flying acrobatic act. Pink danced, hair-whipped, power-slid, and blasted her way through a 21- song, genre-defying set, thrilling a sold-out crowd.
The singer made a grand entrance once the curtain dropped, swinging from a massive pink and purple chandelier as she belted out the fitting concert opener, “Let’s Get This Party Started.” After jumping down to the main stage while supported by a large harness, she finished the number on the stage surrounded by dancers dressed in elaborate, shiny pink outfits as gold sparks shot up overhead.
Pink then launched into title track from her new album Beautiful Trauma. She danced and posed on moving colored lanterns as dancers picked her up and spun her around and gently grabbed her hand and dipped her backward ballroom style. A full band appeared behind the dancers midway through the song, which came to a close with some beautiful backing violin work. During the next track, “Just Like a Pill,” Pink walked down the catwalk on a conveyor belt and knelt down on each side of the ramp, slapping the hands of her fans and greeting them with a smile.
After a short video interlude, a massive inflatable Eminem puppet walked the stage and mouthed the words to his part on “Revenge” aided by two men dressed like the acclaimed rapper pulling strings with each rhyme. Pink swung up in the air and gave the puppet a swift kick in the face toward the end.
Pink then paid tribute to some of her obvious musical inspirations. She asked the crowd, “Does anybody like Grew Stefani?” just before the band kicked into No Doubt’s classic, “Just a Girl.” Pink confidently strutted up and down the catwalk dressed in a dark green plaid overcoat that nodded to Stefani’s iconic onstage style.
The song wrapped up with a textbook power slide mid-stage. She then rolled on her back and banged her head as the opening riff to Nirvana’s generation-defining track “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was pounded out by her band. Running all over the stage and thrashing to the beat, Pink did the late Kurt Cobain justice with her powerful vocals and passion while guitarist Justin Derrico highlighted the tribute with some fiery ax work.
The show continued along with “Try” as the stage transformed into a large forest scene complete with moss draped trees and characters dressed as foxes and other animals holding candlesticks. Pink emerged in a Little Red Riding Hood-style cloak under the trees before tossing the coat to the side to reveal a ballet costume resembling the one worn by Black Swan from famous story, “Swan Lake.” She delicately danced with multiple characters in the most beautifully choreographed performances of the night.
Pink and the band then powered into 2012 smash “Just Give Me a Reason” featuring Fun’s Nate Reuss. A single spotlight illuminated Pink as opening piano notes were gently played. As soon as Reuss’s part in the duet came on, a classic TV complete with a large antenna slid out onto the middle of the stage amid white billowy smoke playing a black and white video of Nate singing his vocals. Midway through, Pink jumped onto a giant bed and floated above the crowd and passionately belted out the lyrics, “We’re not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again.”
The acoustic guitar intro to “Fire” was strummed as burning embers spit off massive flames that now made up the entire digital backdrop giving the feel of a summer night spent alongside a campfire. As the song picked up to the chorus, massive walls of real flames shot up in the air, blasting large waves of heat through the arena.
Pink and a condensed band made their way out to a smaller stage at the end of the catwalk where she heard someone scream about a birthday as she locked eyes with a little girl. She instantly connected with her and made her feel special. “That’s the most beautiful tiara I’ve ever seen,” the singer exclaimed. She talked with her for a minute about how she was turning 11 and that “12 sucks but 13 is rad. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Can you tell I’m a mom?” This proved to be the ideal intro to her next song “Barbies” where she wondered where the time went and all she wanted to do was go back to playing Barbies in her room.
After a powerful rendition of “F**ckin’ Perfect,” she told a story about her daughter and how she came to her and said that she felt like she was the ugliest little girl she knew and that she got made fun of for looking like a boy. She explained how she made a Powerpoint presentation for her daughter showing all of the androgynous rock stars such as Prince, David Bowie and Elton John and told her that they were probably made fun of a lot, but they carried on and became something amazing. “Do you see me growing my hair? Do you see me changing my body? Do you see me selling out arenas? We don’t change. You’re beautiful,” she sang.
She then changed pace to “Raise Your Glass” and “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and even knelt down to autograph a sign for young fan at the end of the song before walking off the stage. The crowd roared and she returned for an encore. Strapped into her flying apparatus for the start of “So What,” she put up her fists up and threw some air punches before shooting straight up into the air into the beams of multiple spotlights. She furiously spun, flipped and swung herself over the crowd while belting out the lyrics “So what? I’m still a rock star. I got my rock moves. And I don’t need you!” while showcasing her impressive vocal stamina and range.
The show then slowed down for “Glitter in the Air” as Pink serenaded her fans for one last number as the arena was fully lit by glowing cell phones. She blew a kiss to the crowd and threw up a peace sign before walking off the stage for a final time. Pink continues to be a very positive role model and inspiration for young girls to look up to. Her authenticity and charm shine brightly on this stage and that is what keeps people filling up arenas to see her. It’s no wonder that her career has continued to blossom.