Pink, Birmingham, NEC

The songs lack colour - but the acrobatics impress
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The Independent Culture

The choreography is all the same these days, from Madonna to Beyoncé to Kylie. At first, it seems that Pink has joined the club as she arrives on stage by being lowered in a tiny birdcage. This Philadelphian daughter is sporting a proud pink mohican-cum-mullet, like a centurion, or maybe a cantering horse. Pink is image-hungry, favouring frequent costume changes.

The first change brings a blonde transformation and she comes on in leathers. The band of drums, bass, two keyboards and a particularly angry guitar start to rock, instead of the previous R&B music. It is heavily arranged punk, like lots of time has been spent dressing up and ripping up in the bedroom. This must be one of Pink's favourite places, as her onstage demeanour is best described as sexually empowered. The discreetly tattooed Pink might be indulging in sanitised rebellion, but she still rocks the sold-out, mostly standing crowd on this first night of her nine-date "Try This" tour.

Pink does her Lady Marmalade act, the dancers abusing four symbolic inflatables. Pink succeeds in "popping" Christina Aguilera, but insists that she really has been losing weight.

But the next moment could have been the Nine Inch Nails; Pink is into everything. Her vocals are generic R&B soulfulness, but the visuals tend to distract from this. When she swans on in a 1970s chiffon stars-and-stripes dress, pacifist images flash by, then she is into a Janis Joplin tribute, banishing her band and sitting on a stool, accompanied by acoustic guitar. The mobile phone has become the new cigarette lighter, held aloft at emotional moments.

Persona change is rife. At one point a guy called Thomas is grabbed from the audience and strapped into a wheeling electric chair. The girls sit on his face, possibly making his night, and Pink straddles the chair.

Then it is reggae, followed by rave pulsations to pole dancing. The songs are increasingly one-dimensional heading for the encore crunch, but the acrobatics are impressive.

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