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Pink thrills Tampa Bay Times Forum crowd with daring in the air, swagger on the stage

Swinging in a show that sometimes resembled Cirque du Soleil, Pink performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

Swinging in a show that sometimes resembled Cirque du Soleil, Pink performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday.

TAMPA — After Pink's high-flying sold-out gig at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday, substantial swaths of which she spent spinning and/or upside-down, there are no longer any — annnyyy — viable excuses for a performer to ever lip-synch again.

If this 33-year-old mommy could soulfully belt out opening hit Raise Your Glass while boing-boing-ing rafter-high via bungee ropes, the Britneys and Beyonces of the Top 40 realm can't claim dance moves or chilly climes as decent reasons to switch off the mike.

Wow, what an evolution of a talent. In the beginning P!nk was Ke$ha with cooler hair, just another sass-talking bad girl with a snarly upper lip, a couple of catchy songs and a punctuated moniker. Maybe she'd be around tomorrow; maybe she'd be grand-opening cheesesteak shops in her Philly homeland.

A decade-plus later, Alecia Moore is an enduring star, a bankable singer-songwriter so confident that she's been doing recent shows without arguably her biggest hit, Get the Party Started, on her setlist. That's not a belligerent move, mind you; that's someone who thinks she can entertain you better without it.

After an opening set by Swedish garage rapscallions the Hives (a killer crew who've been trying to find fans in the U.S. since 2002's Hate to Say I Told You So), Pink proved she could amaze, and then some, the huge crowd of 16,702. Ab-ripped to the extreme, she alternated between Cirque du Soleil acrobatics (seriously, that stuff was Vegas-quality ridiculous) and strutting the glitzed-out stage like she owned it.

Backed by a full band and all manner of hunky dancing dudes and dudettes — and gamboling about a multi-tiered, effects-fat set equipped with trap doors and two staircases — the star alternated between synthed-out club hits (U + Ur Hand), pop-punk burners (the sinister Trouble) and heartfelt ballads (a gorgeous cover of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game, the pained Family Portrait, an acoustic Who Knew).

She's a hoot, too, amiable with her stage presence but not averse to the occasional f-bomb. After one profane exhalation, she laughed: "That's the first time I've cursed in a long time. My daughter must be in bed!" Wardrobe changes always showed off her athletic form, but Pink, for all her kapow sex appeal, proved a legit modern-day role model for boys and girls. She doesn't take much guff, and she's built her career with class and guile.

She's a fine singer too, her raspy blues holler able to both growl and hit deliciously crystalline high notes. Considering the high-octane workout of her show, her energy never flagged. For Sober, she boarded a Mad Max-looking metal globe (spinning sky-high, natch) and still uncorked a powerhouse vocal. A dangerous stunt for sure, but she nailed it.

Pink's show started late, and thus she continued to risk life and limb after my deadline. But rest assured, Tampa attendees will be talking about this one for a while, especially the next time they see a fave performer phone one in. That's not the Pink way. Not even close.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Pink thrills Tampa Bay Times Forum crowd with daring in the air, swagger on the stage 02/27/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 1:17pm]
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