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Live Review: P!nk @ Allianz Stadium

10 February 2024 | 8:37 am | Alasdair Belling

P!nk is changing what it means to be a pop star, and if this tour is anything to go by, she’s also changing what stadium performance looks like.

P!nk

P!nk (Credit: Jordan Pannowitz, Allianz Stadium)

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When walking into the opening night of P!nk’s 15-date Summer Carnival Australian stadium extravaganza I asked myself - “is it fair to classify this as Mum-rock?”

The key demographic of the night were mothers and aunties with their tween, teen, and twenty-somethings.

P!nk herself - AKA Alecia Hart (née Moore) - is a proud mum, regularly speaking about motherhood, sharing her kids on social media, and singing songs about the ups and downs of parenting.

Yet something about the label “mum-rock” seemed derivative, like I was missing the point of these rock and pop anthems that have empowered not just mothers, but people of all walks of life to “start a fight” with those putting them down and being ok with not living a “fucking perfect” life.

Then a woman in the mosh pit went into labour.

And that was it! All doubts about using the title mum-rock were cast aside. P!nk concerts are literally where some women became mothers, their births soundtracked by Never Gonna Not Dance Again and Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

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To be fair, the moment of the evening came during Our Song (the other one), with the melancholy lyrics decried by the singer herself.

“I feel like we should play Get The Party Started… not this!”, she laughed, as the fan in question was escorted from the arena floor.

It took three goes to get the song rolling properly - and in that moment it was clear why upwards of 45,000 fans a night will ram stadiums the nation over to see the singer in the coming weeks.

P!nk’s down-to-earthness and willingness to play fast and loose with the situation at hand - while simultaneously keeping a world-class, multi-million dollar stadium production on the road - is a testament to the experience and professionalism of the performer.

Of course, her larger-than-life stadium cliches came in abounds as well.

From the ariel stunts and manic dance sequences of the opening salvo Get The Party Started and Raise Your Glass - complete with flamingo bikes, fireworks, and trampolining aplenty - to the quasi Van Halen tribute of Just Like Fire/ Heartbreaker - there was no mistaking the rock & roll spirit of the occasion. 

But it was the intimate moments that will really be remembered tonight.

When I Get There was touchingly dedicated to a fan displaying a picture of her late father on her phone and bringing her daughter Willow onstage for Cover Me In Sunshine (remember: mum-rock) was a classy stroke.

She even managed to pull off a barnstorming hoe-down rendition of I Am Here in the pouring rain, surrounded by her backing band, transforming Moore Park into a western saloon - albeit in a swamp - for three glorious, memorable minutes.

Throughout the whole 2-and-a-half hour show the crowd was ecstatic, with newer cuts from her latest album Trustfall - including the title track and Turbuluence - met with the same enthusiasm as 00’s radio staples Who Knew and Please Don’t Leave Me (the latter earned some special acoustic treatment.

Of course, the joy of the gathered throng would have been all but impossible, had it not been for the excellent work of the supports - a DJ blasting yacht rock classics, and Australian pop sensation Tones and I.

Tones - real name Toni Watson - was overjoyed to be opening such a big event.

Stadium supports can often be a poisoned chalice; from not having the ideal mix to having to scale back on production, and sometimes literally playing around and inside the headliners' set-up.

Tones however rose to the challenge; flanked by a three-piece backing band, and literally eight backing singers/dancers/hype builders, her set was perfectly suited for the occasion.

A cover of Alphaville’s Forever Young first-up to spark the attention of the magenta masses, followed by snappy song transitions and use of the entire stage (the runway is there to be used after all) saw Tones get the crowd moving, with many a daughter on shoulder to be seen for standout cuts Johnny Run Away and Dance Monkey.

The addition of the inflatable props which featured in her Welcome to the Madhouse world tour that’s run for the last 3 years added to the sense of Tones trying to carve out her own space on the stage.

However, all the inflatable spooky houses in the world can’t match a rock-and-roll mum flying on a harness above a football stadium of fans.

With Kiss breaking up, there’s now a sizeable chunk of the aerial-stunts-and-fireworks market looking for a new show to sink their money into (all $800 if you want to get up close at a P!nk show).

Thankfully, P!nk will no longer be playing second fiddle to a cynical Gene Simmons cranking out Detroit Rock City and flashing his revolting tongue for the umpteenth time.

Her show has all the explosions, death-defying stunts, and spectacles any stadium casual could want - and she pulls it off while still playing new music (U + Ur Hand didn’t get a look in this evening- probably to the relief of some parents in attendance).

Multiple times the singer ascended and somersaulted through the air, all while belting out her anthems.

However, no matter how many times she does it, the fly-around of the stadium for the finale - a stomping rendition of So What - will never lose its thrill.

Soaring 50 meters above the floor, P!nk visited the bandits up the back, before completing multiple laps of the stadium in the air as a means of a final bow. 

One baulks at the prospect of the insurance bill her team surely have to foot at every show - but when this many people are cramming in to see it again and again, anything’s possible.

Of course, P!nk’s band was also in stellar form while their ring leader flew through the Sydney skyline, with the familiar figures of Justin Derrico (guitar), Adriana Balic (keys), and Jason Chapman (Keys), and Eva Gardner (bass) joined by Brian Frasier-Moore (drums) and a powerhouse vocal trio bring the songs spectacularly to life.

As P!nk, her dancers, and her band left under a thick cloud of firework smog, and the 50,000 punters began the long slog back through Surry Hills in the pouring rain, it was impossible not to feel a sense of wonder at the show.

Wonder at how such a consummate professional can continue to operate at such an impossibly high standard for such a long period.

Wonder at how you possibly forgot how undeniably catchy Just Like A Pill and Try still sound, all these years later, and wonder why on earth she wasn’t already playing stadiums down under sooner.

Her current Summer Carnival juggernaut is the seventh-highest-grossing tour for a woman of all time.

In a time where stadium tours are weirdly becoming the norm, it can be easy to look past the artist with two decades of experience (indeed, she dedicated Irrelevant to naysayers annoyed by her continuing, powerful presence).

However, P!nk is arguably at the peak of her powers, right now, two decades deep into her career.

She’s been setting records all over the world on this run; from the largest concert attendance in the history of Detroit's Comerica Park, the first female act to perform two shows at London’s Stadium of Light in Sunderland, to the highest-grossing gig by a solo act in London’s Hyde Park, Australia is getting a slice of history on this tour.

At the heart of it all is a trapezing, flying, hard-rocking, heart-warming artist who can make a football stadium feel like an intimate bar in a heartbeat - before bringing things right back to where they left off. 

Perhaps most impressively of all, the tour shows an artist bucking all the dogged trends and stereotypes that follow artists of her stature around like a curse.

One does not have to be an 18-year-old recycling the tired trop of break-up revenge to win the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Australian music fans.

P!nk knows her audience expects more - and the result has had a generational effect.

“We’ve grown up together - many of you are here with your kids, just like me - we’ve had kids! How crazy is that?!” she says, laughing, before counting off the next rock anthem.

P!nk is changing what it means to be a pop star, and if this tour is anything to go by, she’s also changing what stadium performance looks like.

Perhaps most excitingly of all, P!nk’s music remains as fresh as ever; there was no sense of things feeling recycled. 

Did we mention a fan literally had a baby during the show?!

If this is mum rock, the dads sure can learn a thing or two.