Pink, playing Madison Square Garden, is right where she wants to be

Pink performs during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival

Pink performs during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (September 22, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Pink has a made a career of confounding expectations.

After her successful R&B-oriented debut, "Can't Take Me Home," in 2000, she quickly ditched the style for a more rock-oriented sound in 2001 and even sang about the resistance from her record company in her hit "Don't Let Me Get Me."

She hasn't looked back since. And with last year's "The Truth About Love," her first No. 1 album, and the accompanying tour, which hits the area starting Friday at Madison Square Garden, Pink has been forcefully forging her own brand of pop with her mixed-signals pop hit "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and the lush, inspirational ballad "Try," as well as her acrobatic performance.

"I like myself a lot more than I did when I started," she recently told The Sunday Mirror of London. "I've exorcised a lot of demons. I don't think I'll ever give up performing. But I don't know if I would do it as full-on with more kids. I only have 'off' or 'on,' so I'd have to seriously figure out different speeds."

Few of her fellow superstars can match her pop power even as she raises her daughter, Willow. In a time when most artists release only one or two songs from an album, her third single from "The Truth About Love," the lovely "Just Give Me a Reason" duet with fun. singer Nate Ruess, caught fire last week, moving into the Top 10 on the sales charts, as sales of the single nearly doubled. If "Just Give Me a Reason" follows "Try" to No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 charts, Pink will have the most No. 1's ever on the chart, breaking the tie she has with Katy Perry at seven.

"This is the life I wanted," Pink recently told the Tampa Tribune. "I've been crazy about music since I can remember. It all had an impact on me, listening to the radio, first concert, all of that."

She is quick to point out that her first concert was Billy Joel's "The Bridge" tour in 1986. "I was just 6, but it was awesome," Pink said. "Billy Joel just blew me away. I love his music so much that I went down the aisle to his 'She's Always a Woman.'"

 

 

WHO Pink

 

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. tomorrow, Madison Square Garden; 8 p.m. Saturday, Izod Center;

and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nassau Coliseum

INFO $26-$125; 800-745- 3000, ticketmaster.com

 

 

WHAT CRITICS SAY

 

"Pink is the new gold standard. . . . She's consistently more entertaining in concert than Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and most of her other competitors in the big-budget, high-concept touring game."

-- Jim Harrington, San Jose Mercury News

"Often busy swinging in a contraption or dangling from bungee cords, Pink turned into a prop. Thrill-seeking escapades came first, music second. Absent focus and cohesiveness, the event stood as an example of perils associated with convoluted ideas and over-the-top pageantry."

-- Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune

"She's the proud poster girl for falling down -- after a breakup or, more plausibly, a few drinks too many -- but showcases the stumbles without feeling the need to puke glitter."

-- Kevin Joy, Columbus Dispatch

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