Published on theMusic.com.au, Jul 2018
Pic by Sean Finney
P!nk, The Rubens
WA was on a mission to paint the town pink, with the hotel adjacent Perth Arena illuminated to match the evening’s headline act, much like The Rubens’ name on the screens inside the venue as the homegrown rockers kicked off the Aussie leg of the Beautiful Trauma world tour with their recent cut Go On.
“We’re kinda nervous, but seeing all your faces makes us excited,” said frontman Sam Margin. Early tunes like Hold Me Back and I Knowmanaged to fill the arena with an upbeat, punchy vibe, but overall, got lost in such a big venue; they were tight, but didn’t quite cut through. It wasn’t until Margin equipped himself with a guitar, giving their sound extra crunch, that the five piece found their stride, sliding into an infectious indie rock groove with The Best We Got.
The energy continued to build in The Day You Went Away, as drummer Scott Baldwin and bassist William Zeglis locked in, and their stage presence was on-point during set highlight and slick single My Gun.
It was party central when Pink’s resident DJ, KidCutUp, hit the decks, spinning a whirlwind medley of upbeat ’80s and ’90s hits that left fans more than ready.
A sensory overload welcomed punters to Pink’s set; the headline act suspended high above the stage and swinging around a futuristic chandelier that was spitting fireworks to the tune of Let’s Get The Party Started, while a flurry of stylish and eclectic backing dancers orchestrated mesmerising arrangements below.
One song in and the audience was stunned, struggling to process the intro as punchy single Beautiful Trauma saw the stage fill with fog and warped streetlights, eventually resembling something from a classic Disney fairytale.
Pop hooks backed by rock arrangements rendered Just Like A Pill the perfect partystarter, and as Pink danced around the runway protruding from the stage, it was clear she was giving it her all, both physically and emotionally, in a way few other pop stars could.
But it wasn’t all theatrics and insane production, sometimes a song’s melody and beat were enough, as evident in Who Knew, when the chaos temporarily subsided to make way for interpretive dance.
Her humour was on show as she welcomed punters to Revengeland via a warped, gory and hilarious claymation video that acted as a fitting introduction to Eminem collab Revenge. Quirkiness met class for the R&B-inspired single, which saw Pink go head-to-head with a massive inflatable Eminem in another stunning aerobic display. “It’s hard work kicking a blow-up doll’s arse,” she said.
The soaring rock’n’roll guitar lead of Funhouse by Justin Derrico then took centre stage, sliding into an unexpected and welcome cover of No Doubt’s Just A Girl, elevated by backing singers Stacy Campbell and Jenny Douglas-Foote. “Feel free to lose your minds for the next four minutes,” Pink yelled, with drummer Mark Schulman taking control and rolling into more unexpected and surprisingly epic territory with a raging cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Secrets saw the multitalented performer team up with dancer Khasan Brailsford for an acrobatic display that would rival that of a Cirque du Soleil act, and then the entire production followed suit; the stage becoming a dark, fairytale-like forest playground occupied by various animals for Try – Pink playing out the song’s meaning through more compelling, calculated choreographed dancing.
From the woods to an abandoned mansion, props transformed the stage into the set of the Just Give Me A Reason music video, and Pink was joined by Fun vocalist Nate Ruess – who guests on the studio recording – via an old TV; an addition that was quickly background noise once Pink was hovering above the audience on a bed.
The theatrics subsided once more for I’m Not Dead, allowing Pink to soak up the atmosphere before things heated up again, literally. Bursts of flames fittingly spat out from various parts of the stage in time to Just Like Fire, and if that wasn’t enough action, emotionally draining affair What About Us once again employed mesmerising choreographed dance moves from her backing ensemble, leading into ballad For Now.
Pink finally got a chance to interact with fans, getting up close and personal with frontrow punters and going so far as to sign someone’s arm for tattooing purposes – “no pressure”. It created an intimate atmosphere for acoustic number Barbies, with the singer joined by a stripped-back backing band at the end of the runway. “I like Transformers, too, but I couldn’t find anything to rhyme with Transformers,” she joked.
Even the acoustic portion of the set was upbeat, as I Am Here erupted into a folk pop onslaught in its chorus, Pink bouncing up and down to its pounding beat and continuing her inspirational journal via Fuckin’ Perfect and a speech on inclusion through a touching anecdote about her daughter.
Raise Your Glass, complete with fireworks, signalled the end was near, but not before megahits Blow Me (One Last Kiss) and So What made an appearance, the latter of which had Pink soaring around the entire arena attached to numerous cables – she could almost high five ticketholders in the nosebleed section… whilst being suspended upside down.
But that wasn’t how she wanted to leave things, bringing the vibe back down to earth and a relatable level as she emerged in a t-shirt and jeans for Glitter In The Air, singing its final chorus to an arena illuminated by smartphones; a perfect send off and a chance for many to soak up the insane two hours of nonstop action that had just unfolded. Few acts master production, stage presence and songwriting like Pink.