Last Night: P!nk at Toyota Center

P!nk with The Hives Toyota Center February 21, 2013

On Thursday night at the Toyota Center, P!nk did things onstage that made her contemporaries look like saggy blobs of glitter and Starbucks.

Not many poppers in her weight class can sport a body that makes Lady Gaga, Britney, Katy and Beyoncé look like Norm from Cheers. She's had a good year and a half to bounce back from having a child to boot. She has abs of steel that you only see in muscle magazines at the grocery store.

Staying in some sort of aerial position for nearly half the show, whether being suspended by a harness, a rope, a shaved and burly man, or hanging onto a birdcage, P!nk is also a show-off, able to sing while doing things that would make lesser people piss their pants.

Naturally, most of P!nk's songs are about making questionable decisions against your better judgment, so everything is copacetic.

The Hives and their opening set were received a whole sight better than I would have thought for such a glitzy, pop-hungry crowd. The Swedish monsters ran through their own greatest hits and stage antics, with lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist set permanently on stun for their half hour or so onstage.

It's charming that in the decade-plus he's been touring the States, Almqvist hasn't lost his Swede accent for something intelligible. And thankfully the band didn't disappear into the massive Toyota Center, either, holding their own against the acoustics to create a real rock show.

"Walk Idiot Walk" was always meant to be heard in a sports arena. The irony is so delicious they should sell it on a stick at RodeoHouston.

The garage act had apparently laid waste to Emo's in Austin playing a show off the beaten path of the P!nk tour itinerary the night before. Sadly, the Hives haven't played a club show in Houston since George W. Bush's first term in office. They were last here supporting Maroon 5 in 2007.

P!nk's "Truth About Love Tour" comes with a host, a hammy man who helps the storyline of the show move forward. It's a hokey device for the most part, but it did bring some yucks to the crowd, and gave the stage crew time to set up P!nk in a new hanging contraption.

A grown man dressed up like a cherub in a diaper is always a good idea, especially if his diaper lights up in all the wrong places.

Her popping out of the grasp of three he-men while hanging like a bat (Peter Murphy-style) for show opener "Raise Your Glass" pretty much floored anyone thinking this would be a wiggle-wiggle-shimmy ordeal.

It's easy to forget the sort of vocal talent that P!nk is amongst all the tough-girl posing and Mötley Crüe-style explosions. After hearing her cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," I wish she would do an album of modern standards, maybe tone down the theatrics for an album cycle. Her voice smolders when it's in a lower gear.

Another one of P!nk's selling points is that she doesn't cower in her songs. It's Woman Power, albeit low-fat Woman Power, but in 2013 that's a rarity. Whereas someone like a Taylor Swift is a slave to the whims of little boys in her songs, P!nk is the one tightening the leash.

Personal Bias: I have always enjoyed P!nk, if not for her music per se, then for her rocker attitude, like a Barbie doll spin on the Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams or Joan Jett raised on a steady diet of Madonna and Mary J. Blige.

The Crowd: Surprisingly older than I would have thought for an act like P!nk, quite honestly. But.....

Overheard in the Crowd: I also heard someone squeal, "OMG, I WAS FIVE WHEN THIS SONG CAME OUT!" during "There You Go," so there's that.

Random Notebook Dump: Why couldn't the Hives play an aftershow somewhere in Houston? I would have totally signed over my tax refund to help.


Raise Your Glass Walk of Shame Just Like a Pill U + Ur Hand Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely) Try Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover) Just Give Me a Reason Trouble Are We All We Are How Come You're Not Here Sober Family Portrait Who Knew (Acoustic) F**kin' Perfect Most Girls / There You Go / You Make Me Sick Slut Like You Blow Me (One Last Kiss)


So What Glitter in the Air

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty