Music review: P!nk, Hampden Park, Glasgow

HANGING from a giant rose-tinted chandelier suspended high above the stage, bedecked in a diamante-encrusted black cat suit and singing her 2001 good-times romp Get The Party Started – say what you like about P!nk, she certainly knew how to make an entrance.
P!nk PIC: Calum Buchan PhotographyP!nk PIC: Calum Buchan Photography
P!nk PIC: Calum Buchan Photography

The blonde-quiffed American pop-rock singer-songwriter, actress and trained acrobat has become a blockbusting live draw globally by dint of taking it literally that bit higher than her competitors. The attendant hefty insurance premiums were presumably costed somewhere in the ticket price.

Nine years since her last visit to Glasgow, she packed-out two nights on the spin at Hampden. Had Alanis Morissette gotten into a harness instead of meditation in the late 90s, then this kind of box-office could have been all hers. Instead it’s been left to P!nk to find the missing link between empowering songs of misfit existential angst and Cirque du Soleil-worthy high-wire theatrics. Somebody had to.

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If her Beautiful Trauma World Tour has a mantra then it ought to be “when in doubt, dangle somebody from the rafters”. Two stunning set-pieces bookended a bang-for-buck spectacle.

The in-between could have probably afforded to make less effort than it did, yet kept the entertainment value peaking with more gravity-defying stagecraft, affected-yet-endearing kooky personality and a costume-change for practically every song.

Funhouse merged with a cover of No Doubt’s Just A Girl while P!nk did knee-slides in an ankle-length tartan coat. Secrets was staged as a balletic aerial two-hander with a male dancer that at one point saw our host basically surf the air on her partner’s rippling abs.

Try was set to expressive gymnastic tumbling, while Just Give Me A Reason saw scantily-attired men strung up like lampshades. A lungs-busting rendition of tortured love song 90 Days sung as a duet with its co-author Wrabel – whom P!nk had been spotted among a tiny audience watching play a gig at the Garage on Sauchiehall Street the night before – contrastingly was a delicate touch that shrunk the stadium down to intimate proportions.

Walk Me Home, I Am Here, Raise Your Glass and Blow Me (One Last Kiss) ramped up the energy levels for the big finale – nonconformist punk-pop anthem So What, belted-out breathlessly while our heroine whizzed over the heads of the audience in an elaborate trapeze like a real-life super-hero, strafing and dive-bombing as she went before landing herself and with it this soaring juggernaut of a show, gracefully on a dime. - Malcolm Jack