BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
(This review was originally posted on Dec. 14, 2013)
Those who saw Pink at her fantabulous March show at Philips Arena knew what to expect at Saturday’s encore performance: An absolutely thrilling two hours of entertainment.
Those witnessing Pink’s “The Truth About Love” spectacle, now on the road for 11 months (this was the last date of the year until the tour resumes Jan. 7 for another month) for the first time had to respect her daring, her indefatigable stage presence and her arsenal of hits that has kept radio stocked since 2000.
Indeed, aside from a streamlined set list (two songs shorter than March), not much road wear was evident in Pink’s exhaust-a-thon, including another spirited, sold-out crowd.
Her ace five-piece band and two female backup singers – who do the heavy lifting during Pink’s most jaw-dropping stunts – were as tight and polished as they should be at this point in the tour and Pink projected an easy playfulness as she signed autographs for fans, gathered the armfuls of gifts tossed on stage and joked about her dancing and piano-playing skills.
From the opening blast of bungee cord-flipping on “Raise Your Glass,” elevated by Justin Derrico’s electric guitar, through the acoustic loveliness of “Who Knew” and the throwback to her L.A. Reid/Atlanta days with a medley of “Most Girls,” “There You Go” and “You Make Me Sick,” Pink offered relatablity and crazy-strong vocals.
“It’s hit or miss,” Pink joked about her piano skills before “The Great Escape,” which showcased her pretty upper register. Then, after knocking herself out with the sassy street moves of her early days, before she really found her comfort zone, Pink gasped for air and noted, with a wry smile, “This is why I fly.”
Oh yes, she did that, too. “Try” found her suspended high above the stage performing Cirque du Soleil-worthy moves in a black bikini-like outfit while “Sober” had her crawling over, into and on top of a spinning egg – also hanging from the rafters – and no doubt giving her insurance company apoplexy.
One thing different from her March show was the reception for “Just Give Me a Reason.” In March, it was newly released to Top 40 and two months from landing on adult contemporary radio. At that time, fans cheered the presence of fun. singer Nate Ruess on video, but weren’t completely familiar with the song.
Now, “Reason” is up for two Grammys, including Song of the Year, and its ubiquity is the sort that prompts crowd sing-alongs on the “uh-oh” portion.
(On an amusing note, the fiery “Are We All We Are,” with its catchy playground chant of a chorus, was co-written and produced by Georgia native Butch Walker, who was playing his own show across town at Center Stage Saturday night).
Experiencing a Pink show is like that blast of adrenaline that hits when the roller coaster whips out of the loading zone, except the ride never subsides.
Sure, there are some time fillers, such as the goofy narrator who still seems unnecessary, but “The Truth About Love” is a triumph that showcases Pink on full blast.
Throughout the year, when people have asked about my favorite concert of 2013, I always cited Pink’s March appearance. Having witnessed this reprise, I can say with certainty that hers was THE show of the year.