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P!nk BST review: ‘A carnival of emotions as much as it is a carnival of showmanship’

"It's time that P!nk be celebrated as the queen of pop that she is."  

5.0 rating

By James Hodge

P!nk releases her new single 'Never Gonna Not Dance Again'
P!nk on 'Never Gonna Not Dance Again' (Image: Ebru Yildiz)

The title for ‘Queen of Pop’ is long debated. It’s always the same names – Madonna, Kylie, and Gaga parade endless bops; Beyoncé and Taylor Swift raise the touring game…

Whilst many icons are at Glastonbury this weekend, however, Hyde Park is buzzing with excitement for a much loved if underrated superstar – P!nk. However, if the Summer Carnival Tour is anything to go by, she must swiftly be reconsidered as the queen of every category. 

From an opening monologue made up of a collage of P!nk’s best lyrics, it’s undeniable that she has a ridiculous number of hits in a career spanning back to 1995. She bungees down from the top of the stage to the ringtone rhythms of ‘Get This Party Started’, and if the party wasn’t started quickly enough, it’s followed by an onslaught of top-tier singles.

Whilst P!nk is known for her spectacular performance skills as an accomplished aerialist, and her high energy brings all the fun, strip away the stunts and props and you are left with one of the best voices in the business: punky and kick-ass, emotive and soulful. ‘Raise Your Glass’ is relentlessly defiant; ‘Who Knew’ is melancholic and pleading; ‘Just Like A Pill’ is full of fear and hope. This is a carnival of emotions as much as it is a carnival of showmanship; her vocals are up there with the best, the only difference being she nails it while upside down thirty feet in the air spinning fifty times a second. 

“P!nk’s musicality creates a striking and imaginative set”

It’s the quieter moments onstage, however, that reveal just why P!nk has had such a long-lasting career. Her relatability is undeniable, and rarely does an artist spend so much of a gig talking to individuals in a crowd. And these aren’t meaningless interactions. Throughout the show, she comes back to the first timer and checks in – “Having fun? Was that good? Great. Well, if this is the first, where the hell are you going to go after this?”

Even when things go wrong, P!nk is a charismatic host who holds the audience in the palm of her hand. During the start of the new album track ‘Turbulent’, a rope fails to lift. “Looks like I might not be able to do it!” she jests. “The bosses say they need me to stay alive. But if we could just have six inches more… (Man, we’ve all thought that haven’t we?) Well, if it doesn’t work I’ll just… do an interpretative dance?”

P!nk’s musicality creates a striking and imaginative set. A rousing piano cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ is followed by a rocky reimagining of ‘Just Like Fire’ mashed up with Pat Benatar’s ‘Heartbreaker’. A highlight is an acapella rendition of ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ with exquisite harmonies that bring a vulnerability to the breakup classic. 

Even during newer tracks, the audience can’t take their eyes off the stage. ‘I Am Here’ feels like a religious experience. Irrelevant becomes a political diatribe. ‘Runaway’ is a slice of 80s nostalgia. 

As the night draws to a close, and just when it feels like the energy can’t climb any higher, P!nk takes off, flying over Hyde Park spinning, flipping, and diving. As she enters new heights, it’s time that P!nk be celebrated as the queen of pop that she is.