P!NK – Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, 12.11.2009

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I can’t remember how old I was when I heard P!nk for the first time, but her daredevil attitude and lyrics appealed to me right away. Nowadays I wish more little girls could look up to her instead of other numerous mass-produced pop stars. She is like a whirlwind, leaving nothing and nobody the same after her. When Pink brought her Funhouse Tour to shed some light and fun on the grey and gloomy Helsinki autumn, I couldn’t miss a chance to finally see her live.

Hartwall Areena was full of people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. That night they came to see a grand spectacular show and I believe none of them left the venue disappointed.

The colorful curtain that hid the stage had a white screen almost in the middle of it. The show started with a recorded cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and a video projected on that screen. All the lights were off; the audience was concentrated on the video showing P!nk rummaging through her dressing room, trying to find something to wear, then getting on a motorbike and speeding along the highway. As the video came to the end, a ray of light all of a sudden showed a clown standing on the catwalk with a large Jack-in-the-box in front of him.

2009.11.12 P!nk (1)As he started to turn the handle, the curtain fell down and P!nk emerged from under the end of the catwalk, going up in the air with a huge orange tail behind her. Accompanied by the tunes of “Bad Influence,” she floated to the stage that was decorated unimaginably brightly. The set consisted of a circus/carnival with freakshow motives and more crazy clowns. The images on the LCD panels at the back of the stage were changing according to the atmosphere of every song. At the beginning they looked like scary “moving pictures.”

After that came an old hit, “Just Like a Pill,” which was warmly welcomed by the crowd as everyone clearly knew the words. Once P!nk came to the right edge of the stage, where I was standing, I could see her amazingly fit and aerobic-ized body at a close distance, my first impulse was to run to the gym right after the show. Damn, that girl is in good shape!

 

“Who Knew! and “Don’t Let Me Get Me” passed by almost in a heartbeat. Absolutely everyone around me was singing along, while P!nk was dancing and walking around, interacting with the audience from all angles of the stage.

Next came the cover of The Divinyls “I Touch Myself.” A red sofa appeared on the stage and P!nk went out, wearing a black lace top and breeches. As she lay down on the sofa, hands came out from the holes in it, touching the singer’s body. It somehow reminded me of Madonna’s shows back in the days. I am not sure how the people who brought their children to the show may have reacted to such a thing, but one has to expect a bit of sexy from pop stars.

After the moment of intimacy was over, P!nk sang “Please Don’t Leave Me,” and my personal favorite, “U & Ur Hand.” Meanwhile the red sofa was replaced by a huge bed with a heart-shaped head. Introducing “Leave Me Alone,” P!nk said that this song makes her want to dance like an idiot and showed everyone just the right moves for it. The rocking “So What” followed, during which the female dancers started a pillow fight on the bed, caught a poor male dancer, undressed him, and beat him up with the pillows, feathers flying all around. It looked like every girl’s dream pajama party.

After a short break, P!nk came out wearing a white tank-top and loose jeans and sang “Family Portrait” accompanied by a piano. It was time for the acoustic part of the show to start, during which P!nk also played guitar. The acoustic set included, “I Don’t Believe You,” “Dear Mr. President,” “Trouble,” and the best cover ever of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”

When the acoustic part was over it was time for “Sober.” A ballerina and a gentleman dressed in white appeared on stage, helping one of the dancers to get ready for the acrobatic tricks. P!nk came out wearing a black cape, and for most of the song she stood under the LCD screens. Unfortunately, this time she wasn’t doing the breath-taking trapeze performance herself like she did on the previous shows of this tour.

The black cape was hiding a harlequin outfit and the singer put on an admiral’s cap I could die for. The cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was done in the best way possible, because when you cover Queen, you have to make sure you won’t fail.

2009.11.12 P!nk (3)The show was getting closer to the end as P!nk sang a smashing cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” She did her share of the acrobatic tricks during “Get the Party Started” as she kept on spinning round and round in the air, hanging from two pink ribbons.

The singer toned it down a bit at the finale of the show with “Glitter in the Air” and a performance that looked like magic. She was wearing a skin-colored body suit, suspended from white silk that was attached to the middle of the figure from which four dancers were hanging. P!nk was raised up into the air and then lowered below the catwalk for a brief moment. She was taken up again, soaking wet, spinning, with splashes of water flying around. As the song ended and the singer came down, the LCD screens showed “The End.”

So it was – the end of an unbelievable visit to P!nk’s funhouse.

Setlist:
Intro – Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
1. Bad Influence
2. Just Like a Pill
3. Who Knew
4. Don’t Let Me Get Me
5. I Touch Myself (Divinyls cover)
6. Please Don’t Leave Me
7. U + Ur Hand
8. Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)
9. So What
10. Family Portrait
11. I Don’t Believe You
12. Dear Mr. President
13. Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You (Joan Baez cover)
14. Sober
15. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
16. Funhouse
17. Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)

Text: Tanja C. | Photos: Henri Lassander | Ed: Amy Wiseman

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