Female empowerment was the name of the game in downtown Saint Paul last night. With Lizzo performing at a sold Palace Theatre and then P!nk just a couple of blocks away at The Xcel Energy Center, I had a very difficult decision to make. As much as I love Lizzo and everything she stands for, I saw her before she was what she is and those small and intimate shows are something that she will never be able to top now that she is selling shows out around the country, not just dinking around with friends on stage at First Avenue. P!nk is one of those performers that only comes around once in awhile (although I just saw her last March) and always leaves me completely taken aback. The decision wasn’t an easy one but, just like is said at every family get together as we all, “When you are faced with a decision, make the decision as wisely as possible – then forget it. The moment of absolute certainty never arrives.” (This is actually from the Talmud but my family seriously says it every time we are together and the words mean so much to me that I even got a passage from this excerpt tattooed on my arm.)
I walked into the bustling Xcel Energy Center to a recognizable mix of music spanning generations. I didn’t even have to glance at the stage to know who was behind the turntables. KidCutUp opened up for P!nk when I saw her last year and I instantly fell in love with his flow. Sunday night was no different. The way he mashes up songs from the past and songs from current day matches the crowd at a P!nk show absolutely perfectly. There was a little bit of something for everyone when it came to the songs he picked before the show and in-between sets which created the absolute perfect party atmosphere. It may have been a Sunday night but KidCutUp had the nearly sold out Xcel Energy Center dancing and partying like it was a Friday night.
Opening up the show was the buzzing beauty- Julia Michaels. I was first introduced to this songstress by a friend of mine. I have been mildly obsessed with Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers lately and his spoken word styled vocals had said friend thinking of Julia Michaels. Although I didn’t quite agree with the connection, I did agree that Julia will be a household name in no time. I honestly didn’t know she was opening the show until just before the show started but I wasn’t surprised and when she stormed onto the stage I was truly excited to see what she was going to give the audience.
Full of life and energy, Julia’s music, like that of P!nk, seems to focus on real life events and trauma. Not afraid to sing about fights with depression and anxiety, I instantly felt a sense of comfort in Julia’s voice and lyrics. With only time for an eight song set, this 25 year old proved that she is more than just a fad. Towards the end of her set she explained to the audience that she is not just a performer but also a songwriter. As she played through a couple of songs that she had written for other performers, it was hard not to be completely impressive and in awe. From “Bad Liar”(Imagine Dragons) to “Sorry” (Justin Bieber), Julia had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Julia recently announced a show at First Avenue for the fall and after seeing her kill it in a stadium, I truly can’t wait to see what she can do on a more intimate scale.
It was song after song of pure perfection and amazing visuals when it came to P!nk’s nineteen track set followed by a two song encore. With eight albums under her belt, there was no way P!nk could have played every single song that every single person in the arena wanted to hear but she absolutely did her best. From kicking the show off the show with “Get The Party Started” from her 2001 album ‘Missundaztood’ to “Walk Me Home” from her most recent album ‘Hurts 2B Human’, every song P!nk performed came off as flawless and full of energy and passion. That’s my favorite thing about this amazing woman. She has been doing this for years, playing the same songs hundreds, if not thousands, of times yet every time I see her perform there’s that spark in her eye that lets you know that she truly loves being on stage and doing what she’s doing and that she honest to God appreciates all of the support and love she’s gotten throughout the years.
Beyond P!nk’s stunning voice is her jaw-dropping athleticism. Honestly I think she spent more time in the air than on the stage. From kicking the crap out of a giant inflatable Eminem during “Revenge” (a song they did together) to a stunning duet performed in the air with one of her uber talented male dancers during “Secrets”, the way P!nk literally flew through the air definitely had my jaw on the ground along with those around me. P!nk is one of those performers that I just can’t find the right words to describe (can you tell?). Everything is just so flawless and so thought out but also, at the same time, somehow completely natural and without trying to hard.
I could watch P!nk perform every night for the rest of my life and I still don’t think it would be enough. The influence she has had on my life and the way she has taught (and is still teaching) women of all ages to just be yourself and do what makes you happy regardless of what people say is something too special to put into words.
I left last night’s show absolutely speechless and woke up this morning feeling a bit more confident and a bit more bold. Yeah, it was one of those amazing shows that I will surely be talking about for months to come.