Pink at the RDS, Dublin: Powerhouse vocals, pyrotechnics and a charming presence

Review: Pink combines the spectacle of a live gig with the physicality of Cirque Du Soleil

Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2019 at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2019 at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

 

A Pink tour needs very little promotion in Ireland because the American singer almost always sells out in record time here and this evening’s show in the RDS, which sold out in 30 minutes, is no exception to this.

Powerhouse vocals, acrobatics, endless pyrotechnics, classic Hollywood choreography and a truly charming stage presence are par for the course for Pink, and on each tour she finds a way to take your already high expectations and knock them out of the park.

Get the Party Started, her number one single from 2001, does exactly as it prescribes as she enters through the crowd, high-fiving and hugging as many people as she can. Running along the outskirts of the pitch, pausing occasionally for a selfie or two, she finally climbs onto the stage, singing “I’m coming up” with a comedic wink.

Going from zero to 120 in a matter of seconds, Pink is on a mission to entertain. Opening with an 18-year-old hit is a strong magnifier of how consistent she has been throughout her career. Starting out at the same time as other teen idols Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, her bad girl persona was regularly pitted against their initial girl-next-door image – something she regularly alludes to in her songs – but Pink has evolved into something much bigger than a pop singer.

Dressed head to toe in sparkling black sequins, she bounds about the stage during Beautiful Trauma, swinging out of moving fluorescent pink streetlights and dancers and seamlessly slipping into Fred Astaire choreography.

Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2019 at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times
Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2019 at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times
Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2019 at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Reaching into the depths of her lungs for Just Like a Pill, she stretches out from the stage’s catwalk to receive gifts and notes from her fans, a pearly-white smile always plastered across her face.

In pictures: Pink live in Dublin

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Tipping into a manic funfair theme, we enter Revenge Land where all exes go to be punished. With cartoonish bravado and Steve Tyler swagger, she mashes the divorce bop Funhouse with No Doubt’s Just a Girl, but Pink soon takes flight for Secret.

Singing upside down, rotating at breakneck speeds and hanging on from great heights, the 39-year-old combines the spectacle of a live concert with the disciplined physicality of a Cirque Du Soleil show.

If ever there’s a struggle, she pulls a goofy facial expression in the middle of a complex and contorted contemporary dance routine to remind us that there’s a living, breathing human hiding under all that talent.

While many of her peers inject filthy amounts of money and meme-able content into their tours, Pink takes it to the next level by taking physical risks and belting out mega hits like Try and Raise Your Glass in various states of suspension and motion.

She doesn’t share the same limelight as Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar, two stars who are known for the finer details and profound statements in their visual shows, but she pulls in bigger crowds while somehow going under the radar.

Unfortunately, the full production of the Beautiful Trauma tour didn’t make it over to Dublin so we miss out on things like giant, swinging chandeliers but who needs ’em?

With or without giant, swinging chandeliers, she still has the biggest – if not best – live production in recent years, one that was designed by her longtime collaborator, the Irish man Baz Halpin.

As plumes of fire heat up the entire stadium during Just like Fire, Pink’s true purpose reveals itself. She plays the role of the outcast while generously sharing her platform and, through highly charged empowerment ballads, she lends her voice to others.

A video montage of footage from Black Lives Matter, marriage equality, anti-Brexit and anti-Trump marches acts introduces What About Us, a song that has become an anthem for the marginalised and the mistreated in recent years. This show has many wow moments, largely thanks to her airborne antics, but What About Us is a unifying moment for an audience that’s made up of all walks of life.

Attached to a zip line harness, she soars over the crowd during the encore of So What like a glittering astronaut. If the bar was set high coming in, she takes it to outer space and back again.