The Summer Carnival Tour
Featuring; P!NK, Brandi Carlile and Grouplove
Photos by: Samantha Madnick
Words by: Rudy Flores
Tuesday night was completely insane as P!NK along with Brandie Carlile and GROUPLOVE brought the "Summer Carnival" tour to the BRAND SPANKIN' NEW Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego. This performance marks the 20th show of their 24 U.S tour dates, and if tonight was any indication of how the tour has gone it's been something not to be missed!
As I walked onto the floor (Yes. You heard me. I said FLOOR!) DJ KID CUTUP was getting the crowd ready with some pretty nice mixes that had everyone's head nodding to the beats! He would also show up between each of the performer's sets to keep the good vibes flowing so there was never a dull moment.
Up first was GROUPLOVE, who side note/fun/random fact (if only to myself) I happen to have a magnet from the first time I saw them back at Kaboo in 2016. They opened the set to a scant crowd that was filling in quick (something that later in the set lead guitarist and singer Christian Zucconi would joke about) with their song "Deleter" from their 2020 relase entitled "Healer". The seven song set gave everyone just enough time to fall in love (or at least have a very strong like ) with their welcoming sound that definitely could be counted with some of the great jam/folk/indie/rock bands of old. Definitely some good long drive music, perfect for the open road. They played probably one of their more well known hits "Tongue Tied" from 2011's "Never Trust A Happy Song", you may know this track from a number of other places like the famous iPod Touch commercial from the same year, the episode entitled "Nationals" from season 3 of Glee, and even video games like Rock Band 4 and GT Racing 2, to thunderous applause and cheers. GOUPLOVE played a HELL of a set that made new fans out of everyone in attendance that hadn't heard of them, all while giving those of us that have been around for a while a show worth watching/writing about!
Their new album "I WANT IT ALL RIGHT NOW" is out RIGHT NOW for your ear's consumption!
Up next was the incredible Brandi Carlile, who if you haven't heard of yet... WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?! Also, shame on you... go do some listening! Brandi's sound is a blend of fantastic storytelling, heartaches, heartbreaks, true loves and GREAT TIMES all packed into one amazing "bar band", as Brandi herself said. The performance left absolutely NOTHING to be desired as (and I know it's cliche, but it's true) " she left everything on the stage" as it were. Every single note was sung with intention and meaning with songs like "The Joke" from 2018's "By The Way, I Forgive You". She even managed to make us a stadium sized group of background singers during "Hold Out Your Hand" by having us belt out the part that went "Ba-da-da, ba-da-da, ba-da-da!" and honestly it sounded great! During "The Story (one of my favorite songs of off her 2007 album of the same name, there were quite a few people on the verge of tears as her beautifully gritty and seasoned voice hit the almost angelic high notes, and her heart wrenching cover of Radiohead's "Creep" blew everyone away!
Brandi brought a charisma and energy to the stage that could be felt throughout the entire stadium! Her smile was as big as the moon in the sky and it was so refreshing to see an artist truly love what they're doing the way she does. She ended her set with a "final indulgence" , as she belted out a rendition of Queen's "We Are The Champions" that I think would've made Mr. Mercury proud. Her nine song set could have easily been doubled and the crowd would have gladly eaten every bit of it up!
Up next was the spectale that everyone was waiting for, P!NK! This performance was a greatest hits compilation from one of the best live performers I've seen in years. The 22 (that's including the encore that you had to see to believe) song set featured something from just about every stage of her prolific music career thus far. PiNK started off the show in a way that gave off some HARD throwback vibes as her intro video was that of her paying homage to the 1987 fictional character Max Headroom, complete with the "glitches" and roboticisms that he was best known for. She then immediately jumped into the 2001 "Missundaztood" song "Get The Party Started", quite literally in fact!
As the opening notes started P!NK was above the stage, a ridiculous amount of feet in the air, harnessed to bungee cords and standing inside a large red lipsticked mouth, welcoming everyone to the high-flying and death defying act we were all about to witness. She then proceeded to sing while ALSO performing a routine filled with the kind of acrobatics usually only seen at a Circ De Solé show!
The stage production, lighting, videography and sound were all at peak levels, as the crowd danced and shouted/sung to hits like "Raise Your Glass", "Who Knew" and "Try"... AND THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST ACT! There were four acts in total, each better than the next, and all of them OUTSTANDING! Bright neon lights and beach party vibes complete with flamingo shaped scooters gave way to deep emotional numbers done by very talented contemporary style dancers. Each one incredible on their own, but paired with P!NK's powerful and uplifting lyrics their beauty reached a new level.
There were a few covers that of course she nailed and made her very own while still being respectful to the originals. First was "Make You Feel My Love" by none other than Bob Dylan, where P!NK played the piano, showing more of her musical prowess. That was directly followed up by a duet with Brandi Carlile of the late great Prince's "Nothing Compares To You" made famous by Sinéad O Conner, who passed away earlier this year. A spectacular song made even more so by these two phenomenal artists. There was partial cover of "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar, who actually opened for P!NK alongside husband and musician/producer Neil Giraldo for two Fenway Park shows back in August, that was mashed into "Just Like Fire" from P!NK's "Alice Through The Looking Glass" album. The last cover of the evening, Sade's "No Ordinary Love" came in the 4th act, P!NK was accompanied by three of her male dancers and the gracefulness of every lift, spin, and hold left the audience breathless.
As the show drew to it's inevitable end, the band got their introductions and praise. As they should because they absolutely killed it! I mean seriously there wasn't a note out of tune, from strings to keys to percussion and background singers everything was perfection. During "Never Gonna Not Dance Again" (that's a mouthful), P!NK introduced us to her dancers as a few of them jumped from a platform to a trampoline as she shouted out their names.
Now let's talk about this encore real quick. I have never and I mean NEVER seen anything like this before! Right before P!NK jumped into "So What" from 2008's "Funhouse" she walked to the edge of the stage shouting "I'M COMING TO SEE YOU IN THE BACK!!" right before she was once again harnessed up and flung into the air where she soared like an eagle above the sold out Snapdragon Stadium! As she flipped frontwards and back the cables guided her around the ENTIRE stadium all while still managing to sing! She posed on podiums high above everyone giving us all the show of a lifetime! When she finally touched back down, everyone was was on their feet cheering as loud as humanely possible as fireworks erupted from behind the big screens! We were ALL in awe and I can definitely say without a single bit of hesitation the P!NK IS A FUCKING ROCK STAR!!