Having travelled the length and breadth of the country to see Pink play arena shows, tonight poses a simple question: when she’s left without the funfair stage props, the acrobatic ropes and remains upright for the entire show, can she still command the crowds lingering attention for every second of the show? The answer, a resounding yes.
With opener All We Are We Are delivering an anthem rock sound, it’s not long before the Roundhouse crowd are singing along to the chorus, worshipping the pop star despite her 4 year hiatus. In just a few bars it’s clear that the break (and motherhood) haven’t affected her musical sound. It’s bold, is brash, and it effortlessly brushes up against the likes of U + Ur Hand and Fuckin’ Perfect, quickly highlighting that the release of album The Truth About Love next week is likely to see her storm the charts with it’s success.
But it’s not just the music that’s remained edgy and her performance is filled with humour and a cheeky smile. ‘Can I say fucking on TV if it’s live?’ she asks, before clobbering us verbally with the f word in a range of differing voice. Meanwhile, new songs, True Love and The Truth About Love still contain her combination of more angsty lyrics, fused over infectious melodies, whilst the more upbeat older songs like Funhouse and So What remain timeless sing-a-long numbers.
Nevertheless, as someone attempting to walk the line between reviewer and fan this evening, I can’t help but have a shade of disappointment. Having queued for hours to see Pink at her prime, the false starts and forgotten lyrics are more than notable. Pink is someone who rehearses and tours with intent. Back to back shows, full theatrical stage sets and precision choreography coupled with her gutsy vocals normally seem to come with ease. Yet tonight, mistakes are bountiful, which is disconcerting given I have witnessed first hand her ability to deliver so much more.
As she slows things down in the middle, things seem to be a bit more together. With just a keyboard to back Family Portrait, it still carries the heartfelt punch that the song demands, whilst Dear Mr President calms the frenzied crowd long enough to think about the message. The devoted fans at the front still cheer as she sings out ‘what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?’ whilst the newer fans hang further back, dancing along to the more uptempo new songs like Blow Me (One More Kiss).
For me it’s Sober which marks the highlight of the night, her vocals pure and clear, confirming that she’s a formidable performer worthy of her success. Nevertheless with a tour announcement just around the corner, I can only hope next time she doesn’t need to make apologies about forgetting the words. Whilst tonight is fun, fast and frenzied, just the way a Pink show should be, in places it also lacks a little finesse.