Some concerts are a much-needed source of entertainment, but some go beyond that and become, like in this case, a source of inspiration. P!nk took San Diego on a wild carnival ride that soared beyond expectations, delivering an empowering evening of music and unapologetic self-assurance, proving to everyone that decades later, she’s “still a rock star.”
Grouplove started off the show with a high-energy, fully-captivating performance that brought everyone on their feet. This was my first time seeing them and trust me, it won’t be my last! Hannah Hooper and Chris Zucconi’s chemistry is so evident; it spills over off the stage, pulling everyone in. Seven songs was absolutely not enough, but I was stoked they included “Colours” and “Tongue Tied” in their setlist.
KidCutUp did an amazing job maintaining the energy levels in between sets, offering the crowd a wide range of mega hits that allowed everyone to find something to sing along to – from Bon Jovi to 4 Non Blondes, to Def Leppard to 50 Cent.
Brandi Carlile was next and her raspy, soulful vocals blew my mind away as they somehow manage to be powerful and fragile at the same time. Early in her set, she took a moment to pause and gaze at the audience in awe.
She reminded fans that they are fundamentally “a bar band,” and they feel blessed to be performing in such beautiful stadiums and arenas with this tour. But let me tell you – Carlile and her band rocked this stadium and delivered a powerhouse of a set that melted the audience and created an intimate atmosphere despite its impersonal large-scale setting.
Carlile opened her set with “Broken Horses,” which happens to be my favorite song off her album “In These Silent Days.” She followed with “You and Me on the Rock,” and then the mega hit that introduced her to many of us, “The Story.” The fan favorite was met warmly by the excited crowd, who in turn tried to keep up with her masterful vocals, growls and all.
“The Eye” beautifully showcased her vocal range and created a softer moment in the evening, highlighted by her longtime band mates, the “The Twins.” Guitarist Tim and bassist Phil Hanseroth shared beautiful accompanying harmonies that perfectly danced with hers.
Another fun moment was her cover of “Creep.” Not many people can cover Radiohead successfully, but she certainly did. Carlile closed her set with an epic rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
While in most cases it may be true “You cannot judge the beauty of a path merely by looking at its entrance,” on this occasion the show that followed was more than worthy of its spectacular grand entrance. And what an ENTRANCE it was (capital letters fully intended).
The crowd’s excitement broke the momentary silence that accompanied the dimming of the lights.
Fans were greeted by a ‘80s Max Headroom-style video of P!nk that appeared on two maxi-sized screens on each side of the stage, greeting everyone in the audience and preparing fans for the bountiful fun that was to come – and boy did it ever!
A supersized pair of cherry red lips hovering high center stage took everyone’s attention, slowly they opened, revealing P!nk as the music started… so did the party. Fans were privy to her beautiful aerial performance right away as she fell straight down, then bounced back up via bungee harness, danced and kicked while spinning in the air. The audience needed no encouragement to “lose their mind” as P!nk moved the party along with “Raise Your Glass” and all the neon colors of the stage paralleled the crowd’s enthusiasm.
The energy kept soaring throughout the entire evening, accompanied by more intimate moments that only enriched the experience, drawing fans even closer to the stage. “Turbulence” offered one of those magical moments where her aerial performance was preceded by a gentle dance performance that had the audience silently mesmerized.
Another beautiful and unexpected highlight was watching her seated at the piano, covering Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” She gave a beautiful song such an amazing new dimension.
She followed this with a very personal and touching tribute that brought out every cell phone in the stadium and left no eyes dry including mine. She performed “Nothing Compares 2 U,” originally written by Prince and of course turned into an epic-proportion heartbreak anthem by the late Sinead O’Connor. This was performed as a duet with Brandi Carlile and while I have heard this song covered by many, many great artists, I have never felt it like this; it was truly heart melting to witness.
The energy reached a whole new high when she performed a fully-rock infused “Just Like Fire,” and let me tell you, the pyros were hot, but the energy that rose from her fans was a lot hotter. It was amazing to be able to watch this entire show from the floor and feel the excitement all around from opening to end. No one stopped cheering, singing, and dancing. The energy level her fans brought is unmatched in my book.
Another amazing moment was her performance of “Irrelevant.” Before starting the song, she told fans that too often she had been told that her opinion regarding politics and social issues was irrelevant, and that she “should just shut up and sing.” This is unfortunately something that I think most women have heard one too many times, and I have huge respect for the fact that her response was not a nasty tweet, or an angry social media post, but a beautifully-arranged song; an eloquent, resistance anthem that further proves P!nk’s strength is not her talent alone, but the fact that she accomplished everything she did on her own terms.
The only way to close out such an incredible show was with yet another insane acrobatic display. As everyone sang along to “So What,” P!nk flew high above everyone’s heads, spinning, waving, and simply leaving us awestruck with her bravery. She covered almost every corner of the venue, yet landed perfectly on small pillars places around the stadium. Such an amazing feat!
P!nk’s show was a reminder for all of us that it is quite perfect to embrace our imperfections; it was a celebration of positivity that crossed the generational gap of her audience and left everyone inspired.