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Live review: Pink at Staples Center

She runs through her songbook and raises the danger level.

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The pop singer known as Pink has worked hard over the last decade to cultivate a reputation as a risk taker and a rule breaker, making wildly eclectic records that gleefully disregard the strictures of genre (flamenco-flecked electro-ska, anyone?) and pointing fun at fellow celebrities she figures could use the reality check.

Friday night at Staples Center, where she brought her yearlong world tour in support of 2008's "Funhouse," Pink's taste for danger took new shape. Several songs into the two-hour show, she paused the proceedings for a special announcement, telling the capacity crowd that she'd separated her shoulder four days earlier and that the injury was causing her a considerable amount of pain.

"But I've waited my whole life for tonight," she added, "so . . . it." Like much of what she says, Pink's actual verb of choice can't be quoted in a family newspaper.

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If Friday's concert represented a scaled-down version of the "Funhouse" production, it's difficult to imagine what else it includes when Pink is operating at full strength. Modeled (not unlike Britney Spears' current tour) after a big-top circus show, the spectacle featured trapeze artists, giant inflatable clowns, numerous costume changes and a closing number, "Glitter in the Air," in which Pink was dunked in a pool of water while riding inside a fabric hammock wearing a barely-there bodysuit that appeared to be made of masking tape.Perhaps she left out the lion-taming bit.

Pink's disgust with celebrity gradually has turned into a fascination with it, and at Staples she presented herself to the audience as a sort of trusted guide to its excesses, pairing every over-the-top arena-gig indulgence with a gesture of her just-folks humility.

"This song makes me want to dance like an idiot," she said before her eight-piece band launched into "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)." "Nobody's allowed to be cool for the next four minutes." After a stripped-down piano-bar rendition of "Family Portrait," about how "it ain't easy growing up in World War III," she admitted that for the entire song she'd had a feather in her mouth, the result of an elaborate pillow fight during the previous tune, "So What."

Pink played material from throughout her songbook Friday, bouncing from fist-pumping guitar rock to sharp-angled dance-pop to an excellent approximation of what the Rolling Stones might've sounded like if they'd spent more time as a disco band. In the middle of the concert, she performed a four-song mini-set of folky acoustic numbers, including a hoedown-appropriate take on "Trouble" and "Dear Mr. President," in which a video screen contrasted images of terrified-looking Iraqis with a grinning George W. Bush.

The show also included a handful of daring covers: Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself," Led Zeppelin's version of the folk traditional "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." Delightfully dressed as a harlequin with an admiral's cap, Pink even pulled off an impressive version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen that elicited a standing ovation from "American Idol" glamazon Adam Lambert, who took in the production alongside several other stars from a section near the stage.

Like everything in Friday's concert -- like everything in Pink's career -- the song was a gamble, but one that the singer made look like a piece of cake.

--Mikael Wood

Photos: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (12)

Cool! I really want to see Pink when she comes to NY!

Also, that's so awesome that Adam Lambert was there....he's amazing!!!

Pink and Adam...they should do a duet!! :)

I dont like this review. What about the last number "glitter in the air" which also got a standing ovation,?. What about this being the best concert of the year at Staples?. I mean I just don't understand this attitude towards P!NK. Its like ppl make a conscious effort not to praise her. She killed it, she tottally ruled the stage. Frankly, you could do sooo much better than this lame review.

@nic: Easy there, tiger! P!nk is cool and all, but "best concert of the year at Staples?" You might want to look up "hyperbole." Also, the writer goes to great lengths to praise your obviously favorite artist. Perhaps you should stick with P!nk fan sites. Sheesh.

what a lame review. half ass. i was at the concert and she nailed it and then some. that crowd was crazy for her and this reviewer wants to pick at the fact she had a feather in her mouth from a previous number as if she is holding it against her that it happened to come from a song that was a huge number one hit for her.
honestly, read the review in the oc register if you want to know about the concert i saw last friday because this reviwer might as well have been in the parking lot watching.

The review does seem underrated. The concert was amazing. The energy of the crowd was non-stop. People singing to her every lyric was just contagious. Even her opening band (The Ting Tings) were excitedly received and cheered on. It was the first time seeing her, and her vocal, charisma, presence was just magnetic (one of which other stars could only dream of). The concert (and everything in it - stage, musicians, dancers etc) was first rate.

P.S Adam Lambert stood in the same line as me at the bar line. He was a jerk. Loved him before, but I also watched him turn away fan after fan that wanted a picture with him. Sorry, he turned me off.

M.J. - So now Adam Lambert is a "jerk" because he wants something approximating a normal life? Hey- he's off the clock! Try to put yourself in his shoes- how would you like to be constantly bombarded by fan demands everytime you're out in public?
BTW- early on in his career, Paul Newman refused to give out autographs.

Spelling and punctuation is a lost art on this comment site.

So is common sense. Comparing Adam Lambert to Paul Newman? Wow. Just wow.

Pink is awesome.

Pip: If Adam doesn't want to be "bombarded by fan demands" he shouldn't be in the generic bar line with the very people (fans) that probably made him what he is now by voting for him. I do put myself in his shoes - i'd simply have one of my buddies get me drinks so that I wouldn't turn down perfectly nice people. Plus a lady asked him why he wouldn't take a picture, and he said that if they'd buy him a drink he'd take a picture with them. She walked away with a facial expression that read....What?! Plus, he no longer has a normal life, even if he wishes he did.

But anyways, I agree with LakersGirl: Pink is absolutely awesome!!! My post was mostly to emphasize how talented and artistic she is. She really is. Pink is absolutely fantastic.

OMG Pink is the best and on stage she rocks!!!!

Hey Mike...seems like you really had a hard time giving P!NK
the kind of review she really deserved but then most of you folk's who have never faced an audience and performed anything do pretty much the same thing. By the way, I love the reference to Britney but to be accurate P!NK conceived her show back in 2007, about two years prior to Brit's. Funny how their shows are so much alike, well, except for the singing part that is. You have a nice day. Oh, almost forgot, do let me know when your next performance is as I'd like to catch it.

Second review I read that said she got a standing ovation, from Adam(who I love) for Bohemian Rhapsody. I was there. The whole night was pretty much one long standing ovation. The show was incredible. I've been to 16 concerts in the past 18 months and this one was amazing!If she was playing another venue in So. Cal the next night, I would have been there!

@Pip: Just ignore M.J. I don't believe one word that M.J. said about ADAM ... YOU ARE A LIAR M.J. and anyone who has met ADAM knows that you are LYING just to discredit him. This blog is about PINK and you come here with your VENOMOUS tongue and SPEW LIES about ADAM cuz you saw his name. You're a TROLL who goes from site to site and looks for his name so you can post all your LIES!!!!


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