Pink’s “Funhouse: The Tour” Makes 58 Sold-Out Dates in Australia – The Autostraddle Concert Report

Photographer Stef Mitchell & Autostraddle Deputy Music Editor/Australian Specialist Crystal report from the trenches of the Outback’s Outbreak of Pink Fever. Lady Gaga Who?

“Even the most passionate Pink fans couldn’t have predicted that this feisty pop star was capable of selling out a whooping 58 stadium shows in a country with only 21 million people. But she did, and I was one of the 660,000 Australians who helped her out. Four times.”

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Dave HoganWhat do you do when you release a 10x platinum record heavily inspired by separation, and then renew your vows with its antagonist soon after?

If you’re P!nk, you tour said record with your ex/husband in tow, you call it Funhouse: The Tour, and you spend an extra, extra long time in a country that will find your ‘fuck it’ attitude not confusing but endearing.

1 pop star. 58 shows. 4 months. 660,000 people. 1 very small country.

Australia caught Pink fever during 2001’s “Can’t Take Me Home” and now, four records later, Pink’s 2008 Funhouse album — originally entitled ‘Heartbreak is a Motherfucker’ — has been dominating the airwaves with #1 hits like ‘So What’ and ‘Sober.’ And after Funhouse: The Album came Funhouse: The Tour, a four-month long record-breaking extravaganza that has solidified Pink’s place as the highest grossing female artist in Australian history. Again. The girl’s only breaking her own records, residue from 2007’s Stupid Girls tour.

Still, I don’t think even the most passionate Pink fans predicted that this feisty pop star was capable of selling out a whooping 58 stadium shows in a country with only 21 million people. But she did, and I was one of the 660,000 Australians who helped her out.

It’s important to note that while you won’t ever find Pink amongst my Top 10 albums of all time, her concerts are hands down the best I’ve ever seen.

Four times.

Yeah I saw Pink four times. Excessive? Maybe. But it’s important to note that while you won’t ever find Pink amongst my Top 10 albums of all time, her concerts are hands down the best I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a LOT of concerts. Now I’m going to explain why, so when the Funhouse tour hits the USA this month and Europe thereafter, you may be inclined to check it out. And you MUST.

But not without a little help from my friends.

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Stef Mitchell PhotographerI’d like to introduce you to Stef Mitchell, a 23 year old photographer and journalist from Sydney, Australia. Stef will be bringing you some stellar Autostraddle features in the future, so you two should get acquainted now. Stef’s a keen skateboarder, a mad blogger, a habitual hoodie wearer and a girl whose androgyny often sees her mistaken for a boy.

Stef’ll be tearing up NYC over the next few months as she does an internship with Annie Leibovitz and ladies, she’s single. Say hello.

Stef Mitchell Pink ConcertSTEF: Hi! I thought doing the live photography for this Pink piece would be fun – until I was faced with the challenge of taking photos in a strictly ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ venue. The minute I started snapping, a keen security guard circled, swooped in and shut me down. So while I was able to get one or two decent shots off, we’ve had to primarily rely on words and official Pink tour photos to take you there.

But First, Some Perspective On Just How Big Pink Is in Australia.

There’s no doubt that Pink is a success in the USA. Her albums chart, her club shows sell out. But compared to her Australian and European popularity well, there is no comparison. In Australia, Pink has outsold artists that are considered international superstars. To paint you a picture: On her last visit to Sydney, Lady Gaga played 2 concerts. Beyonce played 2. Madonna played 3. Britney will play 4. And Pink? She just played 12. She’s even ripped records from the hands of Australia’s national treasure, gay icon and pop princess, Kylie Minogue.

In Australia, Pink has outsold artists that are considered international superstars.

Her raging popularity in our country is hard to believe, and even harder to explain. Talking to Ellen Degeneres earlier this year, Pink said, “[Australians] ‘get’ me.” And we do. I do.

We get her music. We get her sarcasm. We get her self-deprecating humour.

We get that the bad-ass, loud mouthed, rule breakin’ popstar we see on stage and screen is almost like a parody, a reputation that has been partly earned but mostly played up.

And we get that it’s our choice to swallow it hook, line and sinker.

She makes us want to buy into that tough-as-nails exterior, and so we do.

Stef Mitchell Pink

Pink Loves Australia Back, Stef Eventually Loves Pink Back

Pink Concert AustraliaOne thing that stands out about Pink is that she’s visibly grateful for her fans and her success. Her popularity had reached such great heights that for the first ever time, she’ll finally headline a stadium tour in her own country. And why not, she’s been doing it in other countries for years. In between songs at her final Sydney show, this had her gushing: “You’ve kept me here for so long now that they’ve [America] become curious, they finally want to see what the fuss is about. I can’t wait to show them what Australia and Europe have known for years,” Pink jokes. “My mom’s really excited because after this tour she’ll finally be able to show me off to her friends. I can finally show her and everyone else that I didn’t turn out like they said I would.”

Stef wasn’t a big Pink fan at first, either.

StefMitchellSTEF: It’s true, before this concert I’d never paid much attention to Pink. I’d always just thought of her as a slightly irritating voice on the radio and, while I thought putting her ex in the ‘So What!’ film clip was ballsy and funny, overall she has never really appealed. But by the time I walked out of the stadium, I was converted. I discovered she’s a true entertainer, she has this raw talent that brings a stadium to life. I think part of what has brought thousands of people to see her night after night is the way that she’s completely in tune with the Australian psyche, from her firm grasp on sarcasm and love of VB (Australian beer) to the way she so casually strolls around on stage barefoot, in jeans and a t-shirt. Assimilating or accommodating to the local culture isn’t something that American artists do well, if at all. Yet on stage Pink projects this down-to-earth, carefree spirit that makes me want to have a beer with her. It makes me think that she’d be up for it, too.

Also, her cover of The Devinyls’ ‘I Touch Myself’ was one of the hottest things I have ever seen. Check it out.

Lesbians Love Pink

In Australia, Pink has a lesbian following. So I wasn’t surprised to walk onto the dance floor and be met by a sea of alternative lifestyle haircuts, popped collars and skinny ties. We took our place at the back, right behind a messy drunk lesbian couple who spent the night dancing to their own beat, gyrating against each other but mostly against Stef.

In Australia, Pink has a lesbian following. So I wasn’t surprised to walk onto the dance floor and be met by a sea of alternative lifestyle haircuts, popped collars and skinny ties.

Pink warned this tour would be “higher, faster, bigger, better” than the last and so when the lights dimmed and the opening riffs of ‘Highway To Hell’ kick in, I braced myself for the best. All of a sudden Pink soared out of a giant Jack-In-A-Box, flying over the crowd on a circular trapeze with the feathers from her bright red spandex burlesque costume trailing meters below her. And if the AC/DC tribute wasn’t enough to get the Aussies to go wild (nicely played, Pink), it only amped up when she landed on stage and kicked into ‘Bad Influence’ and we were ON.

Pink Wasn’t Kidding When She Promised Us A Funhouse.

In terms of spectacle and set design, the night rivaled Cirque du Soleil. The dancers were dressed as court jesters, french maids and ballerinas, dancing around a carnival slash Moulin Rogue inspired stage complete with slides, distortion mirrors and giant inflatable evil clowns. There were enough acrobatics to rival the best of the big tops and as Pink spun through the air, the notes weren’t perfect but her performance was. The level of fitness and athleticism on display was unexpected, we could see her abs from the back of the stadium.

DaveHogan3The concert had layers, emotional highs and lows. In between endearing banter with her musicians and the crowd and half-assed boy band choreography, P!nk took great delight in teaching us how to do ‘The Sprinkler’ and making jokes about dance floor brawls ["You Australian girls really know how to throw down!"]

And then there are the lows. Moving to the edge of the stage for an acoustic set, Pink stalled for time, making quips and talking shit before reprimanding herself for being so easily distracted. She requested that “we all need to get sad for 3 minutes” because ‘I Don’t Believe You’, the album’s most prominent heartbreak song, “needs to be performed with tears and agony.”

StefMitchellSTEF: After watching the drunk couple in front of us hug sloppily and dedicate the aforementioned song to each other with their eyes, I was glad for the change in pace. Proving to be an official freak of nature, Pink busted out some Soleil-like moves on a trapeze at a height that I’d prefer not to stand at, let alone leap from bar to bar from. The most insane part was perhaps the fact that she could hold notes and continue to sound amazing while being thrown around like a rag doll at 20 feet in the air. At one stage Pink and her trapeze partner had a collision mid catch and despite a loud, semi-violent slap, she didn’t miss one bar. It only added to her reputation of being the punk ass woman that she is. Ten points.

The second half of the set was filled impressive covers including Zeppelin’s ‘Baby I’m Gonna Leave You’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, as well as an epic rendition of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, during which she ran around stage conducting like the Ringmaster she is.

In the encore, ‘Glitter In The Air’, as she’s suspended from a bungee cord metres above a dead silent crowd, she sings “Will it ever get better than tonight?”

Probably not. Well, there’s always the next tour …

Pink Concert Australia

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Crystal is Autostraddle's HR Director. She resides in Sydney, Australia, where she wears black clothing almost exclusively and listens to Green Day as enthusiastically as she did at 13.

Crystal has written 297 articles for us.

37 Comments

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    Awesome article Crystal and Stef :)

    I wish P!nk had the kind of confidence that someone with a punctuation mark in their name is entitled to. She should really get out there, you know, and just…. have fun.

    It was really great of you two to go along and support her like that.

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    Someone gave me an iTunes gift card last Christmas, but I hate the copy-protected file format of Apple’s music. So instead, I bought sexy music vids to watch on my iPod, including TWO Pink videos (“U + Ur Hand” & “Just Like A Pill”) which I end up watching all the time when I’m traveling, because I only have 5 videos on my iPod.

    Uh, long story short: I LOVE PINK. Thanks for this!

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    Oh wow! I am very glad to have seen these photos with enough time to allow me to plan my Halloween costume accordingly!

    The tough question now is whether to go with the red sparkly pants/amazing abs OR the yellow jacket/abs covered by sparkly purple number..

    Unless Pink releases some sort of 6-week ab workout video in the next few days, chances are the yellow jacket number will win, which is great, cause of the fun hat!!

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    “We get that the bad-ass, loud mouthed, rule breakin’ popstar we see on stage and screen is almost like a parody, a reputation that has been partly earned but mostly played up.”

    Perfect. I wasn’t a Pink fan intially. But with each album, each video, each interview I saw, I liked her more. I love her sass and style. And she’s hot. I’ve never seen her live but I think I might have to try this tour/time around…

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    Jealous she had all those shows down there. Somehow I happened to spend hours watching P!nk interviews on YouTube earlier today. Anyhow, I saw her open for JT a few years ago and she was amazing!

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    I am not that big of a fan. I like some stuff. But I say her perform ‘Fingerz’ in a net. I was like I NEED to see her live. Plus she is touring with the Ting Tings, whom I like. But the bitch has the freaking concert on a frickin Tuesday. What am I suppose to do with that?

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      ohmygoodness the Ting Tings really? listen, you need to take this one for the team. and by the team i mean me. Just do it! Watch Pink fly from a trapeze in sequined leggings on a Tuesday night! You only live once! Say hi to her and the Ting Tings for me!

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    Great article Crystal. I think she plays a couple of nights in Ireland every 6 months, and sells out every time. Not as impressive as her Australian stats I know but it is a very very small country. I was at both the Funhouse dates last April and already have my tickets for when she is back next October. It is very hard to explain to people who haven’t seen her live, how her music can be so far away from what I normally like but she can still be my number one artist to see live, but I think you just hit the nail on the head! So thank you! Also, it is great to hear that she is finally getting a chance to headline an arena tour in the US. I always thought it was strange how popular she was in abroad but not at home.

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      Hey thanks for your comment – it’s great to hear from someone who has seen the tour, and it sounds like she is just as popular in Ireland. Her not headlining a stadium tour before is amazing, right? I fact-checked that about five times because I couldn’t believe it.

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    Pink is huge on radio in the US so I never understood why she hardly tours here. I’m seven shades of excited to see her in October at Madison Sq. Garden.

    Also, she has a live DVD from the Wembley Arena floating around the web: seek and ye shall find. She introduced me to Linda Perry back in 2001 so I still love when she sings 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up!”

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      It’s awesome that you’re going to see her at the Garden.

      I have that live DVD! It’s really good, I recommend it. She shot a DVD while in Australia and so I guess there’s another coming out soon as well.

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    Ahh I’m so mad I missed this! …not that I’d probably have the funds anyways, but still! sigh, the US is so behind the times.
    “Yet on stage Pink projects this down-to-earth, carefree spirit that makes me want to have a beer with her. It makes me think that she’d be up for it, too.”
    Although I haven’t seen her live, this is so well put! I think that’s what’s most appealing about her– you want to be friends with her or at least hang out once or twice, and the perhaps unrealistic optimist in you thinks she’d be down for it too ‘cuz that’s just how cool she is.
    oh & there’s this:
    “One thing that stands out about Pink is that she’s visibly grateful for her fans and her success.”
    I could go on forever. Instead I’ll spare everyone and go watch her interviews or something as apparently they’re all the rage…another sigh…

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      I’m going to watch that interview when I have speakers tomorrow. I have only ever seen one interview with Pink before, and that was on an Australian program called Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. I remember it was really good, I think the transcripts or podcast are probably on line if you want some light reading…

      You’re right, Stef was spot on about the way Pink makes you want to hang with her. Stef can’t get online atm to comment, but she loves Pink wicked sick and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they did become BFFs. Why not.

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      I noticed that the crowd were all lesbians for the first two shows, at the very beginning of the tour. But I guess they went, they saw, and then they told their straight cousins to go, because there were zero lesbians at the later shows.

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    My god I’m amazed you were able to get those pictures with having such a limited time to shoot them! I’ve been a Pink fan since the beginning so I am deeeefinitely going to see her when she tours in the US!!

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    Oh my god the picture of her in the crazy tulle admiral’s costume or whatever is so amazing! i had no idea her stage shows were so intense. i love lady gaga and all, but clearly pink was there first.

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    It’s really hard to describe concerts. It’s really hard to describe performances in general, I guess, or even music, but performances, really, and so I wanted to say this is defo one of the best I’ve ever read.

    As for P!NK in addition to being much like A;ex for the punctuation mark in her name thing, I didn’t know she was such a big deal in Australia ’til you told me, it’s really interesting. It’s always fascinating to me how some musicians will be totally OOC famous in one country and just famous in another, it says a lot for some sense of national culture existing out there, you know?

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