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Pink kicks off first tour in over three years in Phoenix

You wouldn’t know that Pink was kicking off her first tour in over three years from her performance Wednesday, Feb. 13, at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, hot on the heels of giving birth to her first child, daughter Willow, in 2011.

And it wasn’t just the rock-solid abs that were put proudly on display through many skimpy wardrobe changes, or her trademark aerial acrobatics, or the way she not just kept but set the pace for her many ripped backup dancers. Pink rocked the first night of her “The Truth About Love” tour (in support of her recent sixth album of the same name) with the joyful abandon of a woman with nothing to prove and everything to love about her life.

Pink set the exuberant tone for the evening by exploding onto the set from the floor, catapulting through the air to be dangled above the stage from elastic bands by three buff acrobats, sparks flying as she lit into party anthem “Raise Your Glass.”

The crowd was just as eager for her return to the road, rushing the stage to pass her gifts and long-stemmed roses which she gracefully accepted, remembering that she had opened her “Missundaztood” tour in Phoenix back in 2002. Which made it feel even more ironic when she segued into “U + Ur Hand” and its oft-belted line, “I’m not here for your entertainment!” Nothing could have felt further from the truth.

It wasn’t all explosions and bombast. She slowed things down early for a sensual cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” showcasing her rich, powerful voice while three sexy backup dancers caressed her toned body in a lone spotlight.

It also wasn’t a flawless set. There was a bit of a hiccup with the equipment early into “How Come You’re Not Here.” Pink stopped the song, fiddling with her earpiece. “Remember when Beyonce pulled hers out?” she said, recalling the singer’s lip-synced performance at the presidential inauguration. “That sucked.”

There was also a weird bit of buffoonery involving a game show emceed by a wild-haired shriek monster who opened the concert and periodically came onstage throughout to shout awkward, sexually suggestive nonsense at the audience.

It was unpleasant but easily forgotten thanks to songs like “Sober.” It was a mid-set stunner, with Pink ascending above the stage in round metal cage, spinning from a great height without a visible harness.

Of course it looked cool, but it also gave some added emotional heft to one of her more heartfelt songs, with lines like, “I’m safe up high, nothing can touch me.”

Certainly nothing could touch her by the time she lit into a taunting“So What.” But that didn’t prevent her from pulling out all the stops, fitting her midsection with a metal ring hooked to elastic bands that sent her flying and flipping over the audience, arms stretched out far as they could go as if she longed to give every person in the room a high-five.

She had one last aerial trick up her sleeve for “Glitter in the Air,” a slow, sweet ballad sung from a cradle of silk that was dipped with the singer into water. Spinning upside down high above the crowd, dripping wet, voice in tune, there was no questioning Pink’s work ethic or her return to form.

All that, and the Hives still gave Pink a run for her money with a tragically short opening set. They seemed, musically, like an odd choice to open for Pink. The Swedish garage rock band, helmed by lightning bug lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, may not have sounded anything like the slickly produced mega-pop star they opened for, but they proved to be excellent, energetic ringleaders for the circus act that was to come.

Dressed in trademark black-and-white formalwear, the band tore up their joyful monochromatic set, whipping up the audience with manic jumping and primal screams as they played favorites like “Go Right Ahead” and “Tick Tick Boom.”

“Here we have 20,000 new Hives fans!” Almqvist gleefully shouted at the packed arena as he closed out the set. That may be optimistic, but judging by the screams, it sounded true.

Setlist:

1. “Raise Your Glass”

2. “Walk of Shame”

3. “Just Like a Pill”

4. “U + Ur Hand”

5. “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)”

6. “Try”

7. “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak cover)

8. “Just Give Me a Reason”

9. “Are We All We Are”

10. “How Come You’re Not Here”

11. “Sober”

12. “Family Portrait”

13. “Who Knew”

14. “(F**kin’) Perfect”

15. “Most Girls”/”There You Go”/”You Make Me Sick/”(Medley)

16. “Slut Like You”

17. “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”

Encore:

18. “So What”

19. “Glitter in the Air”

By Barbara VanDenburgh The Republic | azcentral.com

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