Review: Pink brings `Funhouse’ to town

Pink review Sept 17 2009
By Jim Harrington
jharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com

Pink, you can color me surprised.

Who knew that the pop-rocker could deliver a concert as thoroughly entertaining as the one she put on Thursday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose? Definitely not this critic, whose previous experience with the star’s live show came during the mediocre 2006-07 “I’m Not Dead” tour.

Indeed, I continued to doubt Pink’s ability for the first 15 minutes of the San Jose concert. My initial reaction to this “Funhouse” tour, in support of Pink’s fifth studio album of the same name, was that we’ve seen this kind of circus-themed production too frequently over the last 12 months _ on “The Circus Starring Britney Spears 2009 Tour” and with T-Pain’s shows in support of 2008’s “Thr33 Ringz.” But we’ve never seen it done this successfully before.

Over the course of 100 minutes and 20-plus songs, the 30-year-old vocalist succeeded in putting on a true pop spectacle that was as good as any local crowds have seen this year. It’s far better than what Britney delivered back in April, and it’s right up there with thrilling show Beyonce put on in July.

What makes the feat even more amazing is that Pink was hurt.

“I separated my shoulder three days ago,” the singer told the near-capacity crowd. “But there was no (expletive) way I was going to cancel this show.”

And, seemingly, there was no (expletive) way she was going to let the injury slow her down, either.

Opening with a version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” the spunky singer was a dynamic presence, mingling with clowns, acrobats and other wild characters as she rolled through the “Funhouse” single “Bad Influence” and the “Missundaztood” anthem “Just Like a Pill.” She wore a ringmaster’s outfit at the start, which was appropriate since there was never any doubt who was running the show.

Pink is such a flamboyant character, with chopped-short platinum-blonde hair, plenty of attitude and even more revealing outfits, that it’s pretty easy to overlook that her greatest strength comes from possessing such a radio-friendly sound. The vocalist reminded fans as she belted out “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” “Please Don’t Leave Me” and a dozen other mainstream numbers that, with a little tweak here or there, could work on just about any popular radio format (including country).

The show was fairly fast-paced and chock full of neat bells and whistles, with enough eye candy to provide a sugary rush for 15,000 fans. Yet, Pink also slowed it down, always when appropriate, and that only made the whole affair more delicious. Some of the show’s best moments came in the more intimate settings, as Pink strummed a guitar alongside a cellist, violinist and double-bassist on an acoustic version of the tender “Family Portrait” and followed with a further-stripped-down arrangement for “Dear Mr. President.”

She also got down and dirty, Madonna-style, on quite a few numbers. Notably, she appeared wearing black lingerie and sang the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” while writhing on a modified couch, one complete with hands that came through the cushions and groped the star. Now, that’s a piece of furniture they don’t sell at IKEA.

She then moved the writhing over to a heart-shaped bed, where she would be joined by a bunch of foxy ladies in scantily clad outfits for “U + Ur Hand.” The song climaxed with a big pillow fight – just like something out of a B-grade sorority-house sexploitation flick – as feathers flew about the stage.

Throughout the night, Pink supplemented her own song book with some great cover songs. She pulled off a shockingly convincing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Going to Leave You,” growling through the lyrics in a bluesy fashion that would impress even Robert Plant, and then turned HP into a dance party with Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” The best moment of the evening came with a spot-on rendition of Queen’s “Wayne’s World” favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Amid all the cover songs, Pink’s own hits stood tall. They also held up well in the barrage of dance routines, costume changes, aerial feats and curious props (like the giant inflatable clown and jester dolls shown at the end of the show).

Producing a major pop spectacle that adds to, but never overshadows, the music is a mighty rare feat. And that’s exactly what Pink accomplished. I had no idea she could pull it off, but I’ll expecting more of the same the next time Pink comes to town.

Source: Mercury News

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One Response to “Review: Pink brings `Funhouse’ to town”

  1. Dome Says:

    OMG. Dear Mr. President really??? no comment

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