Luxe Life Blog
Photos: Pink dances, dangles and contorts herself at Mandalay Bay
By Andrea Domanick
With acrobatics, pyrotechnics and a sequin-suited MC, Pink’s “The Truth About Love Tour” was right at home in Las Vegas when it stopped at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday night.
The show kicked off at 8 p.m. with The Hives, who performed to a thinly filled venue, thanks in part to long lines at the box office and malfunctioning ticket scanners. The contrast of the campy Swedish garage rockers to Pink’s straightforward pop was unusual, to say the least, but anyone who’s seen The Hives before knows she couldn’t have picked better hype men to open for her.
The tuxedoed quintet made the most of the crowd, commanding them to yell, stand up, sit down and clap so that the audience had no choice but to get into their music and the show that lay ahead (“Clap you hands, or I’ll just stay here all night, and Pink can’t play,” went one typical command from swoon-inducing frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist).
It’s not clear how The Hives, whose punk rock bravado might ultimately be too feisty for Pink’s polished pop fan base, will benefit from their opening stint, but the choice earns a tip of the hat to Pink’s taste as a performer. Ultimately, though, Pink didn’t need the hype, and when she took the stage, the arena was packed to the gills with fans shrieking in anticipation.
The show kicked off with a prolonged introduction under the narrative of a circus-like game show titled “The Truth About Love,” hosted by a sleazy, foul-mouthed ring leader who borrowed a few notes from The Gazillionaire of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace; Pink played the role of a jaded, heartbroken contestant picked from the crowd.
And so began a series of circus-inspired spectacles in which the pop star sang songs like “Raise Your Glass” and “Just Like a Pill” while intertwined in rope harnesses and acrobatic cages. Her skills were impressive, if not somewhat underwhelming for the been-there-done-that Las Vegas crowd, but ultimately distracted from her singing. She didn’t go out of her way to hide that fact that she was lip-syncing with the mic at her side for much of the songs while the backup singers brought home the wall-of-sound choruses.
Given that she was dancing, dangling and contorting herself throughout many of the songs, you can’t blame her, but her true talent is in her singing, and she’d do better to let her voice remain the centerpiece of the show. The concert’s biggest faux pas -- besides Pink yelling out, “What’s up, Phoenix?!” the tour’s previous stop, during the opener -- was its sound, a pitchy, poorly mixed barrage of noise in which lyrics were indecipherable and choruses were so loud and overblown that fans across the arena could be seen plugging their ears.
Mid set, she finally swapped out the full band and dance numbers for a slate of ballads, including a piano-accompanied version of “Family Portrait” that let her voice and the oft-wrenching subject matter of her songs shine through. With her powerhouse vocals and kitchen-table rapport with fans, Pink is at her best when she strips away the Britney and Gaga-style pop-show conventions.
Pink broke into the pop world defying those paradigms, and as long as she leaves a place for that in her shows, she’ll continue to reign as pop’s misfit queen.
“Raise Your Glass”
“Walk of Shame”
“Just Like a Pill”
“U + Ur Hand”
“Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)”
“Just Give Me a Reason”
“Are We All We Are”
“How Come You’re Not Here”
“Most Girls”/“There You Go”/“You Make Me Sick”
“Slut Like You”
“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”
“Glitter in the Air”