Pink – Nottingham Arena, Saturday November 11
Refreshingly for a major female pop artist, and unlike the Britneys and Christinas of this world, Pink has always refused to market herself as a sex symbol. Although her music belongs to the mainstream, she has consistently questioned and challenged mainstream values. As Saturday night’s audience demonstrated, this has earned her a hugely loyal, overwhelmingly female fanbase.
Exploding onto the stage in a flurry of giant pink feathers, Pink is a commanding presence from the off, her platinum quiff calling to mind a younger Brigitte Nielsen. Before long, she is strutting down the lengthy runway which stretches into the crowd. This is used to maximum effect for Stupid Girls, in which Pink and her dancers impersonate a clutch of blinged-up airheads, and for the spirited flamenco routines which accompany There You Go.
There are many shifts in mood. One moment, Pink is doing the splits inside a suspended net, stripped to a bikini. Moments later, she is belting out a classy, impassioned Family Portrait, in a full-length silver skirt. A particular highlight is the intimate, back-to-basics “campfire” section, in which Pink, two singers and a lone guitarist mesmerise us with the bluesy The One That Got Away, before raising cheers for the scathing Dear Mr President.
The best tricks are saved for last. As Get The Party Started morphs into the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Pink soars above us on a high-wire, and launches into a dazzling gymnastic display. Even while spinning at high speed, upside down, legs splayed, without a safety harness, she still delivers a note-perfect performance.
Few other pop performers could pull off the same mixture of toughness and charm, vocal talent and fearless athleticism, in-your-face attitude and old-fashioned showbiz values. If Pink’s recorded material has always underwhelmed you, then her live show could convert you on the spot.