Words and photograph by Sugarwolf
The crowd is on their feet standing side by side and waiting anxiously inside the indoor arena. The lights go dark and the asynchronous chatter turns into a simultaneous roar. In a blink, a spotlight lights the way to a tiny sparkling figure sitting high up near the rafters. The blonde fohawk instantly reveals her identity. She’s outfitted in a pink, sleeveless rhinestone-studded leotard with matching platform boots. The smile on her face is so big that even the large constructed red lips that encircle her can’t eclipse it. She’s grasping a bar that is slowly lowering her to a level just below the lips. She twirls herself around until her head is pointing straight towards the arena floor. The beat to ‘Get the Party Started’ starts playing and then suddenly, she lets go. She’s now plummeting rapidly from the sky until the bungee harness she’s connected to springs her back up toward the rafters. The sparks from exploding roman candles follow her as she ascends, and then her velocity slows and she falls back to earth. She bounces once or twice more in a similar fashion before her harness gently descends to the floor. She joins her performers on stage as a gasping audience takes a collective sigh of relief. These were the first minutes of the opening night of Pink’s Trustfall Tour at Golden 1 Center on Thursday, October 12th.
Among the crowded landscape of pop musicians, each of whom is vying for their share of followers, Pink has achieved solid footing at the pinnacle. Her Trustfall Tour is the culmination of elements refined during 5 previous tours that spanned more than fifteen years. During that time, Pink has greatly expanded her skills as a performer. She has added numerous multi-platinum hits to her music catalog. She has honed her acrobatic skills which have evolved into a prominent part of her show. She has progressed those skills to a level reached only by professionals in that space. Her band and her dancers, many of whom have enjoyed an extended journey with her, have followed her lead and have also refined their skills. It all adds up to what can arguably be described as “the greatest pop show on earth”. But the music, the onstage stunts, and the lavish production aren’t the whole story. There’s a secret ingredient that makes this recipe so intoxicating. It’s the woman behind it all.
Pink has somehow managed to achieve superstardom while being as far from a stereotypical pop star as she can be. She walks on stage in her bare feet, hands her sweaty socks to her assistant. She appears unconcerned about whether her makeup is perfect, and instead jokes about becoming a loaf of sourdough during the pandemic. She tells stories about being a mother and shares her children on stage. She takes moments to engage with her fans, and recounts painful times in her life. In other words, she’s real. When you watch her show, you don’t feel like you paid a bunch of money to see someone show you how great they are. Instead, you feel like you were invited to a party and the host sees you and really wants you to have a great time. Pink’s authenticity is what is truly special about her show. It can’t be replicated by other artists no matter how lavish their production. That has tremendous appeal in the world of fake bodies, fake followers, and (dare I use the phrase) fake news.
Back in the Sacramento arena, Pink has thrown a plaid flannel over her sparkling spandex to perform “What About Us”. She quickly changes into a crystal studded leotard and wraps herself in silk ariel straps to perform “Turbulence” from the new LP. She does it while suspended high above the catwalk and spinning like an olympic ice skater. The audience is in awe. She makes her way toward pianist Jason Chapman as a dress is lowered from the rafters. She clips it on and her transformation into ice princess is complete. She meets Chapman for a piece of candy and explains why she prefers Twizzlers to Red Vines. It’s a uniquely-Pink lead into one of her favorite love songs, “To Make You Feel My Love”. She performs it solo on piano. Chapman returns and together with the band they knock out “Just Give Me a Reason” and “Perfect”. She ditches the princess dress for a blinged out white biker jacket and conjures up the rasp in her voice to belt out ‘Just Like Fire’ and Pat Benatar’s ‘Heartbreaker’. Both are performed in front of a continuous blaze of pyro effects. She’ll add to the rock repertoire later with an acoustic version of Zeppelin’s ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’, but not before inviting daughter Willow on stage to perform ‘Cover Me In Sunshine’, and sharing the personal details about her father that inspired the emotional ‘When I Get There’.
The show seems to have it’s own momentum now. Even a throwback cover of ‘No Ordinary Love’ by R&B goddess Sade can’t slow the pace. A battalion of dancers, back up singers, musicians, and trampoline artists are careening effortlessly toward the highly anticipated finale. Anyone who has been a Pink fan in the last 10 years has an idea what’s coming. But that’s doing nothing to temper the excitement. It’s spreading more quickly inside the DOCO arena than EG.5. This is a brand new tour and there’s bound to be some surprises. Now just close your eyes, take breath, and lean back. Don’t worry, she’s got you.
Pink strikes a pose with her supporting performers. Photograph by Sugarwolf