When I was twelve-years-old, like most kids my age, I watched TRL with Carson Daly on MTV. For those of you who are too young to remember, MTV was actually Music Television and TRL did a countdown every day of the top ten most requested songs. They interviewed artists and introduced us to up-and-coming artists; it was my after-school ritual. One afternoon as I was sitting on our blue couch eating my after-school snack watching TRL, Carson Daly said the words that always sent electricity through my body, “And now here’s the debut video for…” this time it was P!nk with her debut “There You Go.” Her name immediately intrigued me and then I saw her: hot pink pixie cut, the undeniable badass-ery, and the sense of relief for my 12-year-old self adolescent self as I witnessed a vivid and strong woman. Someone I could try to emulate. PInk was a beautifully talented powerhouse of a woman. She wasn’t like the normal "Barbie girls" they tried to sell to us as the standard for beauty. At twelve I became an instant P!nk fan. I knew she was a REAL woman. She was what I wanted to be one day.
Eighteen years later, March 13, 2019, I was finally given the opportunity to see P!nk live in her Beautiful Trauma Tour at State Farm Arena. I even brought my nine-year-old daughter along with me. Even more special was that it was my daughter's first concert. The stage was heart-shaped with a gigantic pink curtain hanging in the background, The lights went down and a man walked out in shorts and a suit jacket, put a recorder to his lips, and started playing to the intro to the 20th Century Fox movie theme. The music with the lion roaring. Remember that? As he finished the song the pink curtain fell into a puddle and the opening chords of “Get This Party Started” exploded from the speakers and there stood P!nk in a black, sparkly bodysuit. She was harnessed and attached to two huge ropes that swung from a chandelier. The stage setup mimicked a hotel lobby with the dancers rocking in hot pink body suits. P!nk was lifted off the stage by the harness and like a circus acrobat she flew in circles high above the audience- a badass version of Tinkerbell. The dancers circled below the swinging chandelier as PInk spun around and around the heads of the audience. .She has killer acrobatic skills that she used to make it appear as though she were dancing on air. I felt like I was seated at Cirque De P!nk.
For two hours she tickled our eardrums singing the songs we have all come to associate with her. There are some songs everyone knows instantly when they hear the opening chords, songs that changed a generation and are embedded into every music lover’s soul so when the first few notes of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came exploding out of the speakers, State Farm Arena erupted in thunderous screams of recognition. The edginess of PInk’s voice had the same kind of rawness that Kurt Cobain poured into his songs, and her band shredded it in true Nirvana fashion. Where other artists have attempted covers, they’ve, more often than not, failed miserably, but not P!nk. She stayed true to the anthem of an entire generation all while adding her own P!nk flair to it.
I decided to take my daughter to this show because not only does she love P!nk’s music, but also because there is no other female celebrity I can think of that I would want to be a role model for my daughters. P!nk has always been unapologetically herself, a voice for female empowerment, social injustices and in recent years, one awesome mother to a little girl. During one of the costume changes the speech she gave at the 2017 VMAS started playing and the words were projected on the screen:
'“Recently I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me out of the blue, ‘Mama?’ I said, ‘Yes, baby?’ She said, ‘I’m the ugliest girl I know.’' And I said, ‘Huh?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’ And my brain went to, ‘Oh my god, you’re six. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a 6 year old’s ass, like what?’ But I didn’t say anything. Instead I went home and I made a Powerpoint presentation for her. And in that presentation I included androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, who probably had a hard time with growing up and fitting in. People who carried on and later waved their flag and inspired the rest of us. So many artists such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox , Prince, Janis Joplin, George Michael, and Elton John. My daughter’s looked a bit perplexed until I told her, ‘You know I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself.’ And replied, ‘Well I look like a boy.’ And I said, ‘Well , what do you think I look like?’ And she said, ‘Well you’re beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘Well, thanks. But when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions, my body is too strong.’ And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing out my hair?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’ ‘OK! So baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.’”
Chills shot through my body, my daughter was there hearing this message and so were thousands of other little girls. As much as we tell our daughters how beautiful and special they are, the outside influences that pre-teen girls face are the ones that seem to matter the most to them. Our daughters need other women and society as role models. They need someone they look up to who will tell them it’s okay to be their true selves and that made my mama heart happy. From one mother to another I thank P!nk for showing girls everywhere it’s okay to break the mold and be who they are and for inspiring them to break glass ceilings.
Towards the end of the show her break-up anthem “So What?” filled the arena and she blasted off into the air again, harnessed into four huge bungee ropes. She flipped and twirled through the air all while singing, zooming over the heads of the audience, so close it felt like I could reach up and touch her. During the entire show, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I noticed others having the same reaction. P!nk has an aura that makes it seem as if she is glowing from the inside out and there’s a true feeling that this woman has it all and that she was born to bring music to the world. She sang the songs that took me back to the twelve-year-old me locked in my bedroom hanging onto her every word. She sang songs that reminded me of certain times in my life that she unknowingly helped me through. The whole time she performed she had everyone in the arena in the palm of her hand. When it was over I stood in awe at what I had just witnessed. She took us all on a journey with her music that night and when it was over she gently placed us back down on earth. I never realized how much of her music has a memory attached to it for me or just how influential this woman was for me as a teen. She helped shape the woman I am today.
If you ever have the opportunity to see P!nk live in concert, do yourself a favor and take it. The choreography, the stage setups, the way she dances in the air, all of it, is what entertainment is about. In my opinion, P!nk puts on one of the most powerful shows in the music industry. It was hands down one of the best shows that I’ve had the privilege of attending.
Photos by Alexandra Scuffle for Bullet Music