Pink turns 40 in September. Hope you contemplated that Sunday as you watched her toss and twirl about Tampa like a flying squirrel, flexing on more than 17,000 fans with feats of derring-do lesser pop stars can barely dream up, much less insure in real life.
But that’s Alecia Moore for you, 39 years and a day past giving a frick. With Vegas-plus production behind her, Pink turned a sold-out Amalie Arena into a playground with a capacity of one, thrilling fans with her aerobatics, her voice and her catalog of pop hits that’s going on a 20 years strong.
“I’m about to turn 40!” Pink, like the rest of us, had to marvel. “That’s crazy! I just feel like a 17-year-old boy!”
She sure crashes parties like one. When the hot-pink curtain dropped Sunday, there was Pink clinging to a swinging chandelier, high above the arena floor, snarling -- what else? -- Get the Party Started. It was a hard entrance to top, but that didn’t stop her from trying – and actually succeeding on Secrets, where she wrapped her legs around a fellow dancer and dangled high above the floor without a wire, held improbably aloft by a hand or a foot or maybe a pact with Beezlebub himself.
Many songs crammed a tour’s worth of production commitment into just one or two songs -- confectionery choreography that nodded to Busby Berkeley on Beautiful Trauma, woodsy mise en scene that felt like Andrew Lloyd Webber tackling Twilight on Try, snorts and spouts of flame on Just Like Fire.
Sometimes her endearing youthfulness shimmied through, as when a giant blow-up simulacrum of Eminem floated out, Stay-Puft style, to rap along on Revenge, only to see a wired-up Pink leap up and split-kick him in the chops. And when her band shrunk to fit on the tip off her heart-shaped catwalk, Pink let her voice, finally, outshine her tour’s production, wailing like a gospel queen on I Am Here.
And other times, the drama rose up like a crushed-velvet dragon in the mist. Try saw Pink rolling around a dry-iced stage and flipping her legs into the air atop the backs of a trio of dancers. That rolled into Just Give Me a Reason, which saw Pink floating heavenward on a four-poster bed. And from there, she stomp-started a performance of her newest single -- and first from forthcoming album Hurts 2B Human -- the vaguely Celtic battle cry Walk Me Home.
It was here -- not up twirling in the rafters -- where the Pink the world reveres today came out in force. Here was where she played a montage of news clips and headlines and interviews where she talked about it all: Feminism, self-worth, empowerment, voting rights, climate change, LGBTQ love, #MeToo. Different seats and sections cheered at different moments, but most everyone cheered at something.
And then she came back out swinging in all white, belting What About Us at the epicenter of a mini-nation of dancers. She stuck to the spotlight for the searing For Now. She dropped a clip of her famous 2017 MTV Video Music Awards speech, the one where she encouraged her young daughter -- who later made a cute, quick-hug cameo -- not to change to fit someone else’s idea of beauty. And she sent the crowd pumping their fists into the night with Raise Your Glass and Blow Me (One Last Kiss).
And then, in the encore, So What brought her most death-defying act yet. Anchored by four wires spanning the arena, she took off like a rocket, floating and spinning throughout the building, at times nearly 300-level high, at others just feet above fans’ heads, causing them to jump when she swung just a little too low.
She looked like Peter Pan, which is fitting. Just like the boy who wouldn't grow up, Pink also seems ageless out there. September's starting to seem so far away.
Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.