Concert review and photos: Pink flies high with dazzling return to Atlanta

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

(This review was originally posted at 1:25 a.m. on April 22, 2018)

Think what you want about Pink, but don’t doubt her integrity – as a musician, a performer, a humanitarian.

She’s as real as it gets.

So yeah, you try this while singing. Pink apparently has no problem! Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

On Saturday night, Pink returned to Atlanta for the first time since giving the city a double dose of her live prowess on her 2013 “The Truth About Love” tour, a wowza production that still resonates. (It was also the final event at Philips Arena until the fall, when it will re-open as a “transformed” venue.)

But this “Beautiful Trauma” outing, which kicked off March 1 and will take her around the U.S. and Australia through the fall, might be peak Pink.

Her affection for aerial maneuvers isn’t a novelty or hobby. Pink is seriously skilled at hanging from and climbing around a massive fuchsia chandelier, as she did for the opening blast off of “Get This Party Started” (amusingly, her lights-out-curtain-ready tune before hitting the stage was Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”) and executing graceful moves with a male partner while flying above during “Secrets.”

Frankly, Pink does more impressive things upside down than most of her upright peers. And if this singing thing ever fizzles, she should have no trouble getting a job with Cirque du Something.

The fact that Pink does it all with a sly smile and potent, husky vocals is a tribute to her stamina, dedication and obvious joy at being onstage. She’s also a down-to-earth presence to her fans, spending plenty of time laying on the catwalk floor to take selfies, acknowledging signs and accepting a gift for her 16-month-old son, Jameson (she joked that she keeps getting sick because the little guy is always coughing in her face, but “he’s so delicious!”).

Her massive stage show – six musicians, two backup singers, a horde of dancers, a gorgeous oval video screen, Broadway show-level set pieces (the forest creatures with candelabras were a favorite) and chic outfits that looked as if Pink raided the combined closets of Adam Lambert and Stevie Nicks – anchored nearly two hours of unabashed fun.

Pink has some fun with her dancers at Philips Arena. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

But as much as Pink clearly relished hopscotching all over the stage during taut covers of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” there is almost always a deeper message and a lot of insight in her own material.

The physicality that accompanied “Try” – part ballroom dance, part jujitsu – underscored the song’s emotional bent, while the pointed “What About Us” rumbled mightily through the arena, steered by Pink’s visceral vocal delivery.

She and her core band members assembled at the tip of the catwalk for the pensive “Barbies” as the stage glowed pink, and led the crowd through the spirited foot-stomping, tambourine-shaking “I Am Here” before it was time for another round of Air Pink.

Her voice soared on her empowerment anthem, “(F*****) Perfect,” but it was the follow-up, the audio of Pink’s epic 2017 MTV VMA Awards speech about teaching her daughter, Willow, to live her truth, prefacing her celebration of individuality, “Raise Your Glass,” that exemplified the heart of Pink (a sweet cameo from 6-year-old Willow was greeted with a roar from the crowd).

Pink has all the right moves. She’s genuine, she’s entertaining, she’s a fantastic singer. And she’s already the front-runner for the best concert of 2018.

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