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P!NK! Soars at Comerica Park in Detroit

P!nk performs at Comerica Park © John Swider

Detroit,Michigan (Aug 16,2023)-On a lovely summer night downtown, P!nk staged her first-ever Detroit stadium show and her first concert in the Motor City since a Little Caesars Arena doubleheader back in 2019. With her sellout crowd of 45,000-plus, P!nks Summer Carnival Tour set an attendance benchmark for the biggest reserved-seat attendance in Comerica park’s 23-year history, besting acts such as the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Elton John.

The Summer Carnival is the chosen title for P!nk’s current tour, but based on all accounts and her fans reaction to the extravaganza, Summer Circus might have been better choice, perhaps with a certain profane epithet mixed into the middle as a exclamation for the incredible choreography and presentation from the multiple Grammy winning artist.

If you have been to P!nk concert in the past, you know each performance has been all about the spectacle. Say what you will about Taylor Swift and Beyonce and their beautifully choreographed staged productions this year, but P!nk takes the pop extravaganza concept to another level with seemingly death-defying acrobatics that make the hydraulic risers and props used by her peers look like mere toys, as she quite literally takes her shows to new heights. She wasted no time reaching those new levels on Wednesday either. After a short Max Headroom-style introductory video, P!nk appeared attached to a bungee cord inside a enormous mouth positioned high above the stage as fireworks exploded behind her.

She made a quick dive to the stage, then went airborne again with a couple of her 10 dancers as the opening “Get the Party Started” effortlessly segued into the Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” And the party, as she sang, was only getting started.

P!nk performs at Comerica Park © John Swider

P!nk went from one highlight to another during the throughly entertaining two hour spectacle. She offered high-octane rock cuts and intimate pop songs, tightly choreographed dance routines with no less than a dozen outfit variations. Her interactions with the fans were clearly off-script also, at one point abandoning a intimate solo piano rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”  because flying insects were distracting her ability to perform.

P!nk took to the air during several other songs, but she also made sure that the fans  understood that the acrobatic moments were just that and not used for a time filler of any kind. There were an abundance of stripped-down performances, including “For Now,” with pianist Jason Chapman and an extended mid-show segment where she and lead guitarist Justin Derrico, sat at the end of a T-shaped ramp jutting into the stadium floor for “Please Don’t Leave Me,” “When I Get There” (preceded by a long and emotional reminiscence about her late father), “I Am Here” and what P!nk said was a first-ever acoustic performance of “Don’t Let Me Get Me.”

“What fun is a carnival without family?” P!nk mused as she was joined by daughter Willow for “Cover Me in Sunshine,” quickly followed by “Just Give Me a Reason,” while duet partner Nate Ruess  appeared via video.  An incendiary “Just Like Fire” morphed into a cover of Pat Benatar’s first hit, “Heartbreaker,” and a cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” was accompanied by an array of dancers. Four of those dancers turned aerialists during the title track to her latest album, “Trustfall,” bouncing on trampolines as she sang. But it was “Never Gonna Not Dance Again,” an effervescent, funk-gilded anthem, that truly stood out among the newer stuff, providing a potent punctuation mark to close the main set.

P!nk performs at Comerica Park © John Swider

Fans who weren’t worried about a “Thursday Morning concert hangover,” and hung around were rewarded with the pop mega-hit “So What,” during which P!nk flew around the stadium, somersaulting and soaring as high as the upper decks like Tinkerbell after a few too many energy drinks.

After a finale such as that, the full-scale fireworks display that ended the show actually seemed anticlimactic as emotion drained fans headed toward the exits. It was an entertaining, often exhilarating swirl of aerial stunts, whimsical oversized stage props, cinematic dance numbers and barrages of neon and Day-Glo. a fully tricked-out show from an artist with a likable, unpretentious presence. P!nk is a polished, stage-commanding performer who would just happen to be the chatty life of the party at your suburban backyard cookout.

P!nk performs at Comerica Park © John Swider

The pre-party excitement was also well under way by the time P!nk graced the stage at 9:00 PM . With DJ KidCutUp providing genuinely upper-echelon mixes and mash-ups between sets,  Grouplove, whose bassist, Daniel Gleason, hails from Detroit delivered a crowd-pleasing half-hour. Then a pink-suited Brandi Carlile, playing an exponentially larger venue than she ever has in the Detroit area, proved fully capable performing in a stadium setting. Her eight-song set featured select cuts “Broken Horses,” “Right on Time,” “Sinners, Saints and Fools” to more subdued moments during “The Story,” “The Joke” and “The Eye,” the latter stripped down to an acoustic, three-part harmony treatment between Carlile and brothers Phil and Tim Hansroth.

Aided by a string quartet, Carlile also covered Radiohead’s “Creep” and gushed frequently about the situation she found herself in on Wednesday. “To play for people that already decided they want to hear a woman sing loud rock ‘n’ roll…there’s nothing better than that,” she declared — a sentiment that certainly applied to P!nk as well.

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Brandi Carlile:

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