Pink at Xcel Energy Center, 3/19/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Alecia Beth Moore is strong as an ox, powerful as a locomotive, tough as nails, cold as ice, hard as steel, mighty as the Mississippi, badder than Old King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dog, etc. No matter how she's described, know that Pink is equal parts ripped, cut, and jacked. Not to say that her strength is the one dimension that defines her, but her The Truth About Love tour stop in St. Paul flexed that muscular and emotional fortitude for a solid couple of hours.

When she belts out her jagged pop hits with feeling while dangling 100 feet in the air, and upside down, she not only sets the bar impossibly high for her Top 40 cohorts, but for everyone who comes out to see her. Even for those of us without ropes, pulleys and chiseled backup dancers ready to catch us, witnessing Pink bust her ass like that is inspiration enough for even the most inhibited to break out of a stupor and (at least metaphorically) dance.

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Slideshow: Pink at Xcel Energy Center, 3/19/13

If there was any song to hammer home that point, it was "Try," one of several cuts from last year's The Truth About Love mixed into the night. After spending the first part of the song deftly twirling on the ropes while suspended in the air, Pink came to earth for more feats of gymnastics-level strength involving her dancers, and an extreme amount of flexibility. "Just because it burns/ doesn't mean you're gonna die/ you gotta get up and try and try and try," she sang while all of this was going on. The backdrop (and a long-winded intro from an overbearing "host" she had along) took its cues from sexual fetishes of all sorts, but the lyrics reach further than the bedroom with their intent. And, it was these sorts of lyrical nudges that regularly brought fanfares from the audience.

Photos by Stacy Schwartz
So, aside from the fact that Pink had her sculpted abs on display and completed circus-level stunts for a large percentage of the night, her self-confidence and layers of vulnerability filled out the irresistible package of her live persona. On the somewhat phallic catwalk erected out in front of the stage dominated by a heart-shaped screen, the singer strutted out to commingle numerous times and receive a variety of tokens of appreciation -- necklaces, a white fedora, and a rather large bra ("Honey, that wouldn't fit me; I wish"). And though she had kind words for the crowd ("I like it here!"), she left most of her statements to the ones carefully constructed within her songs.

"Everyone else in the world is cool," she said before launching into the "I love you, but give me space" anthem "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)." "We're dorks." And in the wake of the applause that resulted, she urged the crowd to try out their worst dance moves, and tried out a few of her own as a "Dork-o-meter" on the screens buried the needle. Obviously, Pink can actually dance, but seeing her do some sort of flapping bird routine with a huge grin was a disarming delight.
Photo by Stacy Schwartz

The biggest and most-upbeat chart hits of her career were present in the early going -- "Raise Your Glass," "U+Ur Hand," among them -- but Pink fans are total suckers for the ballads. After a faithful rendering of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," there was "Just Give Me a Reason," featuring a video cameo by Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess. This one got the whole place singing lustily along. It was a touching moment, although Ruess's face on gigantic screens does bring new attention to his exaggerated, rubbery facial expressions.

Through her costume changes -- purple sequined leotard with an "X" on the crotch to a frilly white skirt -- Pink created movement in the show. Following a soul-baring "Family Portrait" with grand piano for accompaniment, she strode out to the end of the catwalk to sit on stools with her tour guitarist. With that song, "Who Knew" and a PG-rated version of "Fuckin' Perfect," she took the opportunity to showcase her voice above all. Aside from a pretty charming flub in the middle of "Who Knew," this would be the most down-to-earth section of the night -- and again, the audience sang and sang.

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