Concert review and photos: Pink flies high in debut Oklahoma City concert
An abbreviated version of this review will appear in The Oklahoman.
Concert review: Pink flies high in Oklahoma City debut
Two decades into her career as a recording artist, Pink is undoubtedly still a rock star with rock moves, but she proved she’s so much more Saturday night.
Making her Oklahoma City concert debut, the 20-time Grammy Award nominee brought an array of thrilling talents to Chesapeake Energy Arena, from her fearless aerial acrobatics and powerhouse vocals to her dynamo dance moves and empowering messages.
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The singer-songwriter also known as Alecia Moore opted to “Get the Party Started” in grand fashion, swinging from an enormous sparkling chandelier high above the massive heart-shaped stage while belting her anthemic smash and rocking a shimmering black catsuit. The sell-out crowd of 15,000-plus fans were clearly expecting greatness, as they had their cellphones at the ready to capture the first big moment of the nearly two-hour show.
It wasn’t the last: The global pop star’s "Beautiful Trauma World Tour" supporting her 2017 blockbuster album boasts as many wire stunts, costume changes, shifting set pieces and intricately choreographed numbers as a Cirque du Soleil production or a Broadway musical, plus it comes with the lighting, pyrotechnic and video effects fans expect from an arena rock concert.
She and her gifted troupe of dancers twirled on Seussian pink streetlamps through the bouncily bittersweet title track, she donned a fuchsia and black trench coat and ran against a moving sidewalk through “Just Like a Pill,” and she belted out the rollicking heartbreaker “Who Knew” and the impassioned protest song “What About Us,” all the while backed by her indefatigable band. (Kudos to Pink for being the rare entertainer to not only recognize each band member and dancer during the set but to also run tour credits on the big screen at the end of the show.)
“We’re in love. All of us, we’re in love. We love it here,” gushed Pink, who spent part of Friday touring the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum with her daughter, Willow, 7, who made a special appearance during Saturday’s show. “Everyone is so nice. It’s so refreshing to be around nice people.”
The show got a little rowdy, complete with an old-school MTV “Celebrity Deathmatch” theme, for her Eminem collaboration “Revenge,” with Pink again getting wired up and going airborne to karate kick a giant inflatable likeness of the rapper.
“I’m not out of breath, you’re out of breath,” she quipped as she landed back on her feet in another snazzy pink and black trench coat.
If she was, it sure didn’t stop her from mashing up her funky breakup song “Funhouse” with the No Doubt classic “Just a Girl,” then inviting the ecstatic crowd to “feel free to lose your minds for the next four minutes” as she covered the iconic Nirvana anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Crafting a set list that left out hits like “Sober,” “Don’t Let Me Get Me” and “Lady Marmalade” in favor of a cover was just more proof that Pink does what she pleases – as if all the adrenaline-inciting wirework wasn’t enough of a clue.
With the kind of audacity reserved for teenagers, she skipped the wires and net to perform a breath-stealing, athletic aerial ballet with one of her dancers, staying artistically aloft by strength, skill and practice - or maybe some kind of rock-star magic. Similar theatrical magic transformed the stage into an enchanted forest for “Try” - a personal favorite featuring more physical dance feats, only this time performed on the ground amidst misty blue lights - and then sent the three-time Grammy winner flying high again on a romantically draped bed on “Just Give Me a Reason.”
Even when she wasn’t dancing from one side of the stage to the other on “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” or spinning like a twister by her wrists several feet off the stage on “Raise Your Glass,” Pink couldn’t seem to stand still. She skipped in a lacy black dress through her hopeful new single “Walk Me Home,” from her upcoming album “Hurts 2B Human,” due out April 26, and strutted among plumes of flame in a fancy velvet coat to “Just Like Fire,” her theme for the 2016 Disney film “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
“It’s hot now. It hailed like an hour ago. I’m getting to know y’all’s weather – and I like it,” said the Pennsylvania native.
She and her band gathered on the catwalk to let the music shine on a trio of “Beautiful Trauma” cuts – the wistful “For Now,” the nostalgic “Barbies” and the gospel rave-up “I Am Here” – with Pink pausing periodically to wave at and lavish compliments on audience members. My daughter Brenna, 8, was the beneficiary of one of the superstar’s salutations: After a kindly woman offered to switch seats for a few songs so my girl could see better, the rock star called out “Hello, gorgeous” to Brenna, ensuring that my first-grader’s first arena concert boasted an unforgettable bonus.
“If you know this song and you feel like singing it, then do it. If you don’t know the words and you still want to sing along, do it. Just make it up. I do it all the time,” Pink said as she launched into the clean version of her poignant hit “Perfect,” which smoothly segued into a replay of her 2017 MTV Video Music Awards speech in which she waxed eloquently about her daughter, body image and how "we don't change" to please other people.
Like most touring artists, the hitmaker saved the top highlight for her encore, but since it’s Pink we’re talking about, the highlight had to soar pretty close to the rafters to top what she’d already accomplished. She pulled it off by turning herself into a human gyroscope for the defiant “So What,” strapping into a special harness that sent her orbiting, tumbling and cartwheeling around The Peake, where she even rose to near the ceiling and performed a heart-stopped dead drop head first in the middle of the arena.
“How’s my hair?” she joked as she shimmied out of her harness to take another well-earned bow.
It was the audience’s turn to provide the special effects for the second and final encore, when Pink returned to croon the piano ballad “Glitter in the Air” and the crowd responded by singing along and illuminating the arena with glowing cellphones.
Between selling out her first Oklahoma headlining gig last year at Tulsa's BOK Center and making a triumphant crowd-pleasing bow in OKC, hopefully Pink won’t wait so long to fly back into the Sooner State.