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Music Review

Self-indulging, Pink is at top of her form

What made the carnival theme work was Pink’s emotion-wracked voice. What made the carnival theme work was Pink’s emotion-wracked voice. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / October 3, 2009

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During her raucous and spectacle-laden, carnival-themed performance last night at the TD Garden, Pink danced in front of a series of funhouse mirrors. While the reflections may have made the pixie-cute, steel-toed tough pop star look drawn out or squeezed small, that was certainly never the reality of the nearly two-hour performance.

Acrobats twirled, dancers writhed, huge clown balloons bobbled, guitarists wailed, glitter and feathers flew, and there was even a pillow fight. But none of the bells and whistles distorted Pink’s essence, the beating heart that is her emotion-wracked voice, which is exactly what made the whole thing work.

Plenty of eye-popping shows come through arenas that are a wonder to behold but underwhelm with lockstep scripts. Pink’s “Funhouse’’ performance was certainly highly choreographed, from actual synchronized dance routines to the Cirque de Soleil-esque aerial acrobatics, but you never felt that she herself was bound.

Whether that meant goofing on herself between songs, indulging her whims for “Why Not?’’ covers like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody’’ or eagerly inviting darkness into the evening with the ravaged-heart drama of “I Don’t Believe You,’’ Pink was never less than human. (Except maybe in her impossible agility navigating her big stage and runway in serious high heels.)

She also sounded equally terrific in all the flavors she favors. She belted out the churning pop angst of “Who Knew’’ as tenderly as she snarled through the raspberry-blowing dance rockers “U + Ur Hand’’ and “So What’’ and murmured her way through a narcotized, almost trip-hop take on the Divinyls “I Touch Myself.’’

The sold-out crowd of 13,614 happily went along for the ride, headbanging to Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’’ one minute and lustily singing along to the grave-yet-sweet pop candy of “Sober’’

The Tings Tings brand of kicky Brit-pop was a complementary confection. The guitar and drums duo - with the help of triggers, loops, and other aids - made a happy racket on tunes like “Shut Up and Let Me Go’’ and “That’s Not My Name’’ that got the whole crowd stomping.

Pink at the TD Garden last night

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