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By TARA S. AUSTIN
From the moment she emerged from a ceiling-mounted set of giant lips and glided toward the stage on a bungee cable — a daring flight above the audience in a blinding blur of glitter and spotlights — P!nk solidified herself as an undeniable pop superhero on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium.
The show was one of 23 dates on her Summer Carnival Tour.
Teasing the audience with a “Max Headroom”-style image on floor-to-ceiling video screens, she summoned the crowd to “Get The Party Started.” Thus kicked off the ’80s-themed show, replete with choreographed dancers, giant flamingos, beach balls, a world-class band and more gravity-defying dangling from a pair of giant neon ring-pops.
The stadium was on its feet and singing along to her vast array of empowering hits, ranging from “Raise Your Glass” and “Try” to “What About Us,” “Who Knew” and “F**kin’ Perfect.” She proclaimed the show as “a celebration of women in rock ’n’ roll” and proceeded to prove her point by honoring other female rock juggernauts. Following “Just Like a Pill,” the band launched into the angsty “Jagged Little Pill” anthem “You Oughta Know,” featuring special guest Alanis Morissette, who lit up the crowd as she joined P!nk to sing her career-defining song.
The evening went on to showcase several other covers, including an Adele-inspired version of the Bob Dylan classic, “Make You Feel My Love,” Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” and a smashing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”
Another guest performance punctuated the evening as concert opener Pat Benatar joined her for a blistering performance of “Heartbreaker,” which was interwoven with P!nk’s “Just Like Fire,” including actual flames shooting up from the stage. The two powerhouse vocalists traded verses while guitarist Justin Derrico traded licks with a three-piece suit-clad Neil Giraldo.
Donning a Barbie-pink feather bolero jacket, one of her many costume changes, P!nk then changed gears for a part-acoustic, part-a cappella version of “Please Don’t Leave Me,” not only displaying her own vocal prowess, but highlighting the other women on stage, her stellar background vocalists, Stacy Campbell, Nayanna Holley, Dani Moz and keyboard/vocalist Adriana Balic.
Pulling from her vast array of hits, including “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” P!nk also spotlighted several of the songs from her latest album, “Trustfall.” The title track’s performance dramatically featured dancers falling into giant trampolines in a mesmerizing plunging/rebounding dance. Another standout, “Turbulence,” found her back in a rope harness for a beautiful aerial performance with one of the male dancers. The most poignant moment came when P!nk was joined by Dericco at the end of the catwalk close to the crowd to share an intimate acoustic performance of “When I Get There,” a tribute to her late father.
Not only a world-class singer, P!nk also proved herself to be an all around entertainer and storyteller, interacting and riffing with the audience. At one point when someone yelled out a request, she countered with “who would ever scream ‘Free Bird’ at a P!nk show?” Just like a carnival, kids of all ages were reveling in the party atmosphere on a Thursday night in Los Angeles, leaving the SoFi maybe even levitating a bit from the experience.
The entire evening started with a joyous, high energy and personable set from L.A.’s own indie-rockers Grouplove. The party kept rolling in between sets by ’80s-tinged mashups from DJ Kid Cutup leading to the powerful hit-driven set by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Benatar, who more than proved why she is still a tour de force, the L.A. date capping her own summer tour.
Photos by Stevo Rood / ARood Photo