Australia’s enduring love affair with Pink is no secret: By last count, she’d performed more than 180 shows in Australia since the beginning of her career, almost a quarter of a century ago.
But on Friday night, at the first Australian date of her current Summer Carnival world tour, Pink did something she’s never done in this country before: She headlined her own stadium show.
The singer has famously eschewed stadium performances in this country in the past, preferring to sell out arenas night after night, not willing to give up the relative intimacy of those shows in favour of packing more fans into stadiums for fewer shows.
This time, she’s finally relented. Perhaps her last experience on these shores informed her decision: She fell ill during 2018’s Beautiful Trauma tour, forcing the hasty rescheduling of several shows.
So, this time around, the smallest (at least in terms of number of shows) Australian Pink tour in 20 years: 17 dates, playing stadiums of up to 50,000 people at a time.
Opening the tour at Sydney’s Allianz stadium on Friday night, after a sunny, hit-filled set from Aussie star Tones And I, Pink might’ve felt vindicated in her previous distaste for stadiums: Shortly before she took to the stage, the heavens opened for a not-forecast downpour. And then the rain continued, pelting down on the open-air venue, for the entirety of the two-hour show.
“Was it supposed to rain? No one looks prepared!” the singer shouted to the crowd, as she and her dancers braved the soaking conditions.
For a Pink show, wet weather isn’t just annoying, it soon becomes a safety hazard: The star peppers her setlist with spectacular aerial feats, made all the more difficult in the slippery conditions.
That wasn’t the only drama Pink had to contend with: She also had to stop the show on several occasions as punters stood on the stadium’s floor called for medical help. One, it emerged, was apparently a woman going into labour, who was quickly escorted out of the venue and off to seek medical attention.
“We need a medic! Somebody’s having a baby? I feel like we shouldn’t be looking!” Pink quipped. A second call for help from the crowded dance floor had Pink stop the show again: “I’ve got to stop, I’m a mum,” she explained to fans. “I will ‘mum’ ALL of you.”
Pelting rain and medical emergencies aside, Pink’s transition from arenas to stadiums was seamless – thanks in no small part to her charisma, making the show feel intimate despite its massive scale.
And it was a family affair: Some of the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for cameos from son Jameson, bounding on stage to collect a lolly from his mum, and daughter Willow, who joined her mum on stage to perform their duet Cover Me In Sunshine together.
Her biggest hits where all present and accounted for, among them brassy numbers like Raise Your Glass and Get The Party Started which (whisper it) have lost some of their sheen thanks to their FM radio ubiquity, serving instead as mediums for the show’s more spectacular aerial set pieces.
Instead, it was the more emotional songs that really shone: Rocky power ballads like Who Knew and Try were received by the audience as genuine classics.
Anyone skipping out before the final song would’ve missed one of the most jaw-dropping sights in a modern pop concert: Pink, tethered on wires attached from various points in the stadium, zooming at lightning speed through the air as she gave everyone in the 45,000-strong crowd a front-row seat for So What. Pop star as meteor.
During one quiet moment during last night’s concert, Pink told fans her “love affair” with Australia was her “favourite thing.” The feeling is most definitely mutual.
Pink’s Summer Carnival Australian tour continues with another show at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Saturday, before moving around the country. Tickets and info through Livenation.
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