P!nk @ Rod Laver Arena (with Young Blood Hawkes) – 14 Aug ’13

Let’s get one thing straight – seeing Pink live is about entertainment. Yes, there is music – with musicians, playing instruments and lyrics that are sung into a microphone that you’ve previously heard on the radio or blasting through headphones. But there’s a whole heap of peripheral things going on in addition to the music with staging, lighting and acrobatics, to the point where the music isn’t the sole focus of the evening. It’s about fun, and entertainment.

Hailing from LA, there’s a hefty dose of vitamin D pulsing through the happy indie pop tunes from Young Blood Hawke to warm up the evening. Complete with triple drumming during Rootless, the extra percussion continued through the set although the only track I’d heard before was We Come Running, which I’m sure has been used on a TV promo for something or other.

Young Blood Hawke @ Rod Laver Arena

Young Blood Hawke @ Rod Laver Arena

Before too long, a strange character started wandering through the crowd and interacting with (or embarrassing) audience members. Appearing on stage he introduced himself, a somewhat Master of Ceremonies if you will before ‘finding’ Pink in the audience to star in the show. He reappeared on several occasions throughout the show, including a performance of sorts on stage during a classical interlude. I’m in no hurry to witness that again…

P!nk @ Rod Laver Arena

P!nk @ Rod Laver Arena

The band could be heard and there were things happening above the stage during the opening of Raise Your Glass, before Pink was actually visible around the time of the chorus. The acrobatics and dancing took away from the music for a while, until all feet remained on stage for Just Like a Pill and before long, encouraging bad dancing along to Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely). Things finally slowed down a little for Try, still laden with acrobatic spectacular but balanced against the music, followed by a pretty impressive cover of Chris Issak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and Just Give Me a Reason, complete with screen duet with Nate Ruess.

No one can discredit Pink for the efforts in connecting with and humouring the crowd. Vowing to learn something new each tour, Pink took position behind a grand piano ready to take on a solo of The Great Escape, and after several stumbles, laughter and assistance from the band pianist, made it through to the end.  The professionalism returned with a couple of acoustic numbers, but not before Pink jokingly mentioned the guitarist owns 57 guitars which probably all sound the same (ouch!) However the Pink of old was dealt with rather swiftly, with a medley of Most Girls, There You Go and You Make Me Sick before two more tracks from the new album and the brief but spectacular encore with So What.

Yes, there were a few things that could have made the night complete like a live performance of the title track from the album and tour (hearing a recorded version with a crowd karaoke singalong doesn’t count) and using a less conventional screening of ‘behind the scenes’ footage on screen to end the night.  Not exactly the periphery free experience at the Forum in 2012, but it was a highly entertaining evening.

I’ve been mulling over the popularity of Pink for a few weeks now. I am well aware that there’s a marketing machine, probably more aptly a marketing powerhouse behind all of it. But at the end of the day, 18 shows in Melbourne alone equates to a significant number of people handing over a significant amount of hard earned money and not all of that can be attributed to the onslaught of promotional activity behind the tour. But if it gets people up off the couch and turning off their idiot boxes to head out and see some live music, then that’s all that matters.

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