“We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl”

P!nk – Rheinenergiestadion, Köln; July 5th 2019

Her show in Cologne was my fourth P!nk concert in ten years. Not much by my standards, but I have enjoyed each of them to the fullest in will go back on the next tour for sure. This show was one hell of a performance and didn’t leave anything to wish for. < 3

I’d been lucky enough to score front of stage tickets, FOS 1 to boot and was happy I didn’t have to get there all that early. Thanks to the chronically later German railway I arrived at the stadium roughly an hour before the gates opened. I had expected an extra entrance for FOS, but there were only two long lines for everyone. OK then. It all went surprisingly well and soon I found myself in third row. Wow, that was unexpected! I noticed right away that the stage was too high to see anything that was going on in the back, but decided to stay were I was anyway.

At 6 pm DJ KidCutUp started playing for us and I assumed he was one of the two support acts I had read about, but he wasn’t. He played good music to get me in the mood. Only he never finished any song. Still, people were singing along and the songs he selected suited me fine. He came back between bands and helped pass the time. 🙂

First support were Bang Bang Romeo from England. They were fun to watch, I liked their music a lot and they had good energy. The front woman was good at interacting with the crowd, but of course we didn’t know their songs. When they covered Four Non Blondes’ ‘What’s Up’ though, we were singing along though. Their current single ‘Shame on you’ was great too and I enjoyed the rest of the set as well. After about 25 minutes they were done and the stage was change for support number two.

Setlist

Shame on You
What’s Up? (4 Non Blondes cover)
Chemical
You & I
You Stand Alone
Invitation
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes cover)

It was Vance Joy from Australia. I really liked his guitar playing and some of the melodies, but I did not care much for his singing. I can’t even pinpoint what bothered me about it, but somehow it was not for me. His band was good. He noted how they usually play for a lot fewer people. When asked everyone to wave to them even the people in the back did. 😉 He covered Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and while I liked the fact that he played a slowed down acoustic version of the song, it bothered me that he took liberties with the lyrics. It felt wrong. They did mostly their own songs and to my surprise I even knew one of them, ‘Riptide’. Around 8 they were done and the waiting time was a lot shorter now.

Setlist

Mess is mine
Georgia
Fire and the flood
Dancing in the dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
We’re going home
Saturday sun
Lay it on me
All night long (Lionel Richie cover)
Riptide

I was convinced P!nk would make us wait at least half an hour, but about 20 minutes later her band and her dancers gathered on stage and the music started. Moments after we could see her swinging from what I can only describe as a giant chandelier, singing ‘Get the Party started’. Hell yeah! As I watched her clim up to the top of the chandelier and swing back down, all the while never missing a note, I already had a huge smile on my face. She never ceases to amaze me.

‘Beautiful Trauma’ was next and involved pink street lights being moved across the stage. Unfortunately the stage was a bit too high to see everything that was going on even at the front, but I enjoyed being close too much to move. 😉 I could still see a lot on the screen and the sound was great so everything was fine. P!nk was on the catwalk a lot and when I could not see her I enjoyed watching the dancers or the band. For ‘Who knew’ she was out on the far end of the catwalk in the center and I could finally see how long it was. The song was beautiful, it has always been one of my favorites. So far I was loving everything about this concert, from her singing to the selection of songs to the stage setup and the wonderful choreography for each song. It only got better from there. 🙂

On the big screen in the back we got a little film about “Revenge Land”, mock advertising a theme park to get rid of annoying boyfriends or girlfriends. The “un-fun house” offered lots of horrible rides. It was quite funny, warning in the end that side effects may include loss of life. This all lead to a great version of ‘Funhouse’ mixed with No Doubt’s ‘Just a Girl’. Towards the end of the song she introduced the band. P!nk received a few fan gifts along the way and commented on each of them. Apart from flowers she got a notebook labelled something along the lines of “Willow’s secret thoughts” and said “You gave me a look into the mind of my daughter”. Later, someone gave her a stuffed animal with a photo of her and Willow as a face and she thought Jameson might like it because this way he could punch both of them. 😀 She was sweet to everyone and took note of the fans who’d been following her for years, addressing some of them as she spotted them in the crowd. 🙂

“Do you know a dance called the Jitterbug?” P!nk asked us and some people nodded, but most didn’t reply. She let us know it was a dance her mom used to do and then she and her dance troupe showed us how during ‘Hustle’. It must have been hard work to put this show together. Watching them dance was pure joy to me, I could absolutely not stop smiling. For ‘Secrets’ she was high up over the stage again, this time hanging from silks together with one of her dancers. Just looking at them spinning made me feel dizzy. 😉

While the dancers came out in animal masks, all carrying different sources of light, we heard P!nk’s voice telling us a story about being on a cosmic journey. She joined them, twisting and twirling with them and the soft music turned into a powerful version of ‘Try’, the dance showing a relationship between fighting and making up, holding each other and pushing each other away. I noticed how people around me where singing, but they’d probably done that the whole time – only now I knew the words and could sing as well. 😉 A full moon rose over the stage for ‘Just give me a reason’ and I was again fascinated by two dancers swinging above stage on giant umbrellas. Meanwhile she was out to both sides of the stage and the catwalk, getting us to sing along. In retrospect I can appreciate the story arc from ‘Try’ into this. I’d have to see the show several times to notice these things while I’m there, but everything fit together very well. 🙂

She urged us to check out Bishop Briggs if we didn’t know who she was and covered her song ‘River’. I really liked it. 🙂 From water to ‘Just like fire’ with flames all over the stage and powerful drums that had me moving along. It sure was a show I could not stand still to. 😀 The next video interlude showed P!nk through all stages of her life and career coupled with bits from interviews where she talked about her motivations for making music and wanting to connect with people, stating that we are all the same in our desire to be loved. The video went on with images of women who fight for their rights and turned into a universal message of fighting for what we believe in and a world that offers acceptance and tolerance for everyone. By the time it was over everyone cheered and I was in tears. As if I didn’t already love her enough for being such a great role model and being outspoken about the issues she cares about. If she is not an inspiration I don’t know who is. <3 A killer version of ‘What about us’ followed and I cried silently for a while as the show went on.

‘For now’ was gorgeous and then she brought out Wrable to sing ’90 Days’ with her. They sounded great together. 🙂 When she walked to the front of the catwalk once more she took Justin with her to play guitar. She told us we’d have a sing along and that we could hug the person next to us if they’d allow us to do it. They played Cindy Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’ – it was nothing short of perfect. <3 Even the sing along during the chorus sounded really nice. They stayed up front during ‘Walk me home’ and were joined by Eva on bass, Mark on drums, Jessy on violin and Stacy for ‘I am here’. They rocked the stadium as much as you can with an acoustic number. The rest of the band left again and Justin remained for a while. ‘Fuckin Perfect’ was the last song she played up front before moving back to the main stage.

The video interlude that followed made me go through a wide array of emotions from confusion to being upset with the world to being hopeful. P!nk talked about her daughter telling her she felt she was ugly because “I look like a boy with long hair”. P!nk’s reaction, after pondering where that might have come from and who would say such a thing to a six year old, was making a power point presentation of androgynous artists, who live their truth despite not fitting the norm and putting herself in the same category, because people have deemed her as too masculine, too strong, with too many opinions. The message was that we should not change who we are, but teach the world to see different kinds of beauty. Absolutely! What better song to follow this than ‘Raise your glass’? Time to party, jump and sing along. 😀 She used the song to introduce her dance troupe. ‘Blow me (one last kiss) ended in P!nk being carried along the catwalk by her dancers and thrown up in the air. ‘Can we pretend’ took us to the encore with confetti dropping on our heads and everyone in the audience standing up in their seats.

Soon she was back out, stepped into a harness and flew over the entired stadium, turning upside dow, doing somersaults, twisting every way and all the while singing ‘So what?’. It was bloody amazing! It all ended with ‘Glitter in the air’ – no acrobatics, no big choreography, just P!nk calmly walking up and down and singing. From somewhere she grabbed a rainbow flag and carried it with her like a cape. Beautiful! 🙂 As the music rang out she waved to all of us, ran back to the main stage and was gone. I don’t think I was the only one who remained stunned for a while, just staring at the stage. I can honestly say I have never seen another performer like her and I loved every second of her show. Thank you, it was a joy to see you!

pictures of this concert

Setlist

Get the Party Started
Beautiful Trauma
Just Like a Pill
Who Knew
– Video Interlude: Revenge land
Funhouse / Just a Girl
Hustle
-Video Interlude: Secrets
Secrets
– Video Interlude: Forests
Try
Just Give Me a Reason
River (Bishop Briggs cover)
Just Like Fire
– Video Interlude: Women are strong
What About Us
For Now
90 Days
Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper cover)
Walk Me Home
I Am Here
F**kin’ Perfect
– Video Interlude: My daughter is beautiful
Raise Your Glass
Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
Can We Pretend

Encore
So What
Glitter in the Air

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