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Pink at MSG: Artist’s thrilling show is packed with stunts, dance, hits

Pink performs during her "Beautiful Trauma" world tour

Pink performs during her "Beautiful Trauma" world tour on March 1, in Phoenix. Credit: Getty Images for Live Nation / Kevin Mazur

Pink obviously knows how to get the party started.

She opened her concert Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden doing back flips from a chandelier suspended high above the stage, followed by an all-out dance number.

Most artists would worry about a letdown following such a spectacular opening. But Pink kept raising the stakes throughout the show, which is packed with aerial thrills, huge dance numbers and her unique collection of gritty, uplifting anthems. At one point, she hung by one ankle upside down while spinning in the air and continuing to sing. Her ability to carry on, even when she forgot the lyrics to the second verse of her hit “Who Knew” or in the midst of stage combat in “Try,” was a marvel in itself.

“I feel like Billy Joel right now,” she said near the end of the show. “Two nights at The Garden?” Pink and The Garden’s resident Piano Man teamed up for a writing session for her new album, but didn’t use the songs from it because “he’s too good for me.”

Though her “Beautiful Trauma” album, which the tour supports, is firmly in the pop category, Pink showcases influences from hip-hop, including a giant, 20-foot inflatable Eminem to deliver the rapper’s parts in “Revenge,” and rock, as she covered a thrashing version of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” and a hard-hitting, faithful take on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” driven by her standout eight-piece band. Her style is always uniquely her own — a special blend of esteem-building, rock-tinged pop that celebrates underdogs and speaking your mind.

Her desire to inspire fans is only matched by her sense of fun, giggling at times and laughing after she launched herself into the air to punch the inflatable Eminem in the nose.

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“That’s really hard,” she said, laughing after she accomplished it once.

However, the most spectacular part of Pink’s show, especially considering that she has been canceling shows in recent weeks as she battles the flu, is her voice. Though each song in her nearly two-hour set has some sort of production element, she can always carry a song simply with her voice, as she does on the wrenching ballad “Just Give Me a Reason.”

Unlike her turn-of-the-century pop contemporaries like ’NSync and Britney Spears, Pink, who wraps up her two-night stand at The Garden Thursday night, is thriving because she continues to stretch as a performer and an artist. “I need to know that my pain is helping you with your pain,” she said in a taped piece to introduce her single “What About Us,” which included clips of current events, including speeches of the Parkland, Florida, teen survivors. “I’m not going anywhere.”

SETLIST: Get the Party Started / Beautiful Trauma / Just Like a Pill / Who Knew / Revenge / Funhouse > Just a Girl / Smells Like Teen Spirit / Secrets / Try / Just Give Me a Reason / I’m Not Dead / Just Like Fire / What About Us / For Now / Barbies / I Am Here / Perfect / Raise Your Glass / Blow Me (One Last Kiss) // ENCORES: So What / Glitter in the Air

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