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Pow! Pink shot up from below the Mohegan Sun stage and, connected by bungee to a chandelier-like construct hanging above, ricocheted with gymnastic abandon during "Raise Your Glass."
Shazam! She clambered into an elaborate, airborne cage. As she and her dancers swiveled and dangled, the cage spun faster and faster into a blurred frenzy for "Sober."
Yowza! She drifted, on lines strung out across the arena, above the audience for "So What." She flipped somersaults and flew so high she could see eye-to-eye with the folks relegated to the nosebleed seats.
If Pink ever wants to give up the whole rock-star thing, she's a shoo-in to work at Cirque du Soleil.
The acrobatics and theatrics during her Wednesday concert at the Sun were beyond the usual concert routine. Way beyond. Talk about a physically audacious performance.
Even for the balladic "Try," she spun on silks, sliding into splits and dangling upsidedown, reaching toward dancers' hands gracefully straining up toward her.
So, you might ask, what about the actual, you know, vocals? Since this is a music concert and all?
During some of the more extravagent numbers, you could wonder whether Pink was truly singing live — or if, at least, most of what the audience was hearing was more the result of back-up performers or backing tracks.
But it was clear Pink did, in fact, sing live a good deal of the night. We know this for certain because of some technical difficulties. Pink was having trouble hearing her voice on her ear monitor, and, on a couple of numbers, she stopped singing for a few lines as she took the earpiece off and, later, put it back on. (At various times, she said, nicely, to the sound team, "I can't hear anything. You have to help me" and "Please turn my vocals down. Please.")
It might have been annoying for her — at one point, she apologized, saying, "I've never had sound issues like this in my entire career" — but it was hardly a problem for fans. She sounded on-key and powerful. Midway through the acoustic version of "Who Knew," she, frustrated again by the sound, asked the guitarist to stop playing, and she sang the rest of it a cappella — gorgeously.
That wasn't the only snafu of the night. The concert was supposed to open with a video of Pink complaining about her love life and then being chosen to be a contestant on a "Truth About Love" game show. Well, the video didn't work at the Sun. We heard her recorded voice, but that was it. Frankly, the whole concert-as-game-show conceit didn't contribute much anyway. And the emcee who hosted the "show" was absolutely luster-free. The night would have been better off without both.
While the whole extravaganza aspect of the concert had its wow moments, the spectacle and the slam-bang pace ran the danger of feeling frantic after a while. Thank goodness Pink finally did settle into a straight-ahead concert performance, at least for a bit — no flying, no dancing, just rocking out to "Trouble" and nuancing a romantic duet with Nate Ruess (via video) on "Just Give Me a Reason."
The bottom line: So what? She's still a rock star.
Wednesday's opening act was The Hives, and they didn't perform their songs as much as attack them with a pop-punk thrash. Dressed in top hat and tails, lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist spit out lyrics at throat-rattling volume. He somehow managed to adopt a Southern accent ... in case you've ever wondered what a Swede would sound like if he moved to Georgia. Almqvist kicked and leapt and jumped off a drum. He twirled his microphone like a latterday Daltrey — with roadies (dressed in black like Ninjas, with masks covering their faces) scurrying along to extend or unravel the mic cord. At one point, one of those Ninja roadies played the tamborine — why, exactly, I'm not sure. I found it all amusing in a whacked-out way, but other concert-goers I heard during and after their performance were, shall we say, not going to be signing up for The Hives' fan club any time soon.