'I'm not contagious, I promise': Pink raises the roof in first show
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'I'm not contagious, I promise': Pink raises the roof in first show

This is not a show for those who get queasy easily. Even watching Pink can be stomach-churning,  never more so than when she's rotating above the ground with her neck and ankles supported only by the feet of a dancer she must trust with her life.

What Pink's stomach goes through as she flings and flips herself around the arena for large chunks of the two-hour show is hard to imagine, but it's a wonder she's not constantly dizzy. On top of all that she manages to sing.

Pink swings from the chandelier in her show in Sydney on Saturday.

Pink swings from the chandelier in her show in Sydney on Saturday.

Photo: AAP

Swinging from a chandelier (take that, Sia!) for sure-fire opener Get the Party Started, she looked delighted to be on stage for her first show after being rushed to hospital last week, throwing her schedule into chaos. "I'm not contagious. I promise," she told the crowd. "I hope I didn't screw up anybody's week. I'm sorry if I did. But we're gonna have fun tonight."

Her feet touched the ground for Beautiful Trauma, but they didn't stay still. An elaborate dance drove the title track of her latest album, which set the tone of the night to come: by turns fun, crude, angry, sad and sexy.

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Drawing on hits that date back to 2001, Pink was at her best leading rousing renditions of the familiar, from Just Like a Pill and Who Knew? early in the set to Raise Your Glass and Blow Me (One Last Kiss) toward the end. Most emphatic was Funhouse, which was always designed to raise a riot, but when merged with No Doubt's Just A Girl felt like it could raise a #MeToo army.

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A cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit allowed her to rock out, Just Like Fire brought the biggest pyrotechnics (eyebrows were in danger in the front row) and vocal bombast, and there was a hint of politics in What About Us?

For the new tracks that haven't yet had a decade of airplay, there was spectacle. The Matrix-style fight scene against a giant inflated puppet of Eminem made the cheeky Revenge memorable, while latest single Secrets was a backdrop to the night's most nail-biting, and sensual, aerial manoeuvres.

The biggest moves came near the end, when Pink became a human slingshot for So What and flew over all parts of the arena, twisting and tumbling along the way.

She might not have been infectious, but the entertainment certainly was.

Pink's Beautiful Trauma tour continues on Sunday at Qudos Bank Arena, with further Sydney shows on August 24, 25 and 26, and September 17, 18 and 19. See here for more details about rescheduled performances.

Michael Ruffles is a journalist and desk editor at the Sydney Morning Herald.