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Culture September 5, 2018

Concert Review: P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma

It’s been 10 years since P!nk made a trip to New Zealand, but she more than made up for lost time when she added 2 Dunedin dates and a record breaking 6 Auckland shows to her ‘Beautiful Trauma’ tour schedule.

A P!nk concert is like no other. A one woman extravaganza, complete with choreography, pyrotechnics, acrobatics, and soaring vocals that put many of the industry’s pop princesses to shame. She does all this while running treadmills, soaring over the crowd while spinning 360 degrees, and at times, hanging upside down while partaking in full cirque-du-soleil style choreography. But the extravagance doesn’t stop there – immaculate stagecraft, attention to lighting – and even the giant screens for the ones in the back, look more like a full production music video than a live stream of what’s going on.

The pace is quick. Hit after hit make up the trailblazer’s nearly 20 years of discography, and the audience – often donning pink bob wigs  – know every single word. The stage changes just as quickly as she does – and her entrance is one of the best you’ll ever see – as a pink curtain cascades to the ground and she ‘gets the party started’ by quite literally swinging from a chandelier. Her dancers spin giant street lamps below her and projections plummet the audience into a world that feels so far from reality, that when it all ends, there’s a genuine sadness that the 90 minute set has come to a close.

The singer is sassy, and although famous for her pop hits, her inner punk rocker is at the forefront of all she does. Renditions of Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’ and a mix of Gwen Stefani’s “I’m just a girl” only emphasize this. But just as easily, she can transition into a soulful mom-of-two, with the acoustic set of the show highlighting her astonishing voice, and more than proving that although she can provide all the bells and whistles of show business, theatre and live entertainment – she’s just as powerful with just a guitar and her voice alone.

The show is not only entertaining, but has a message of empowerment, and leaving the arena, it’s hard not to feel awestruck by this woman who amongst a world of packaged ‘pretty’ popstars, breaks the norm with an unapologetic ‘girls can do anything’ attitude.

Video packages between costume changes illustrate themes of feminism, equality, the political landscape and above all, P!nk’s encouragement to be yourself. A poignant part of the show is when her now famed VMA vanguard acceptance speech displays on the screen. A conversation with her daughter, Willow Sage (who also made a brief live appearance), retold on screen where she tells her daughter and the world, “We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl, and we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”

For her grand finale, she soars over the full arena on a zipline – diving into the back of the crowd to slap fan’s outstretched hands, and waving out to those right in the back. The entire sold out arena sings along with her: “So what! I’m still a rockstar!” And there is no denying, that’s exactly what P!nk is.

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