Pink’s new documentary All I Know So Far opens with footage from her spectacular performance at Wembley Stadium, and as one of the fans lucky enough to get a ticket to see her on 2019’s Beautiful Trauma world tour, within seconds a tidal wave of memories and emotions engulfed me.
It wasn’t simply my favourite Pink concert to date – having also seen the singer-songwriter on her Funhouse tour (2009), Funhouse Summer Carnival (2010), and The Truth About Love tour (2013) – it was the last time I’d attended a big event before everyone’s life changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The documentary, which has been the most highly-anticipated TV event of the year for me and many others (sorry, Friends Reunion), follows Pink as she juggles family and life on the road leading up to her two shows in London, which were attended by more than 140,000 people altogether.
As I didn’t get many good photos or videos from the event, I was delighted to see the coverage in the film, and the balance of this with fly-on-the-wall material, interviews and archive footage was spot on throughout the 1 hour 39 minute running time.
It was great to be able to see behind the scenes and get a flavour of Pink as a person, wife, mother, daughter and businesswoman, as well as a performer.
I remember the moment I heard the news on the radio that Pink was pregnant with her first child, and my heart sank a little as I assumed that her priorities would change and she would stop touring, maybe even stop making music.
Fortunately for her millions of fans, Pink is one of a kind, and her solution to keeping her fans as well as her family happy was to take her husband Carey Hart, daughter Willow, 8, and son Jameson, 2, on the road with her.
“I enjoy seeing the world with my kids just as much as I enjoy nailing it on stage,” she says. “The only way I can justify dragging my family all over the world is that we’re making memories together.” Although she admits she sometimes worries about her children not having a “normal life”, she claims they’re getting “more of an education than I got”.
The children seem happy, bright and well-adjusted. When Willow says she’s missing her friends, Pink tells her she can fly back to America tomorrow, but Willow says she wants to stay on tour until London.
Pink is as devoted to her fans as they are to her, and there’s a moving scene where she reads Carey a letter she received from a fan before wiping away a tear. Carey tells her, “You make a huge impact on people’s lives,” and Pink replies, “It’s really the only reason I still do this.”
I’ve seen female solo artists who seem to have little motivation for performing live beyond ego and money. They are probably among the singers Pink is referring to when she mentions how some people in her position regularly change their musicians, dancers and crew. Pink is surrounded by people who’ve been touring with her for over a decade. They are like one big family and it’s heart-warming to see them all working hard in rehearsals but having a laugh too, and enjoying their downtime together.
While Pink is renowned for “never taking any shit”, she comes across as surprisingly polite and humble for such a superstar. She thanks the hotel staff and says one of the reasons she’s successful is because she surrounds herself with people who are better than her. “I’m not intimidated by other people’s greatness,” she says. “I want all of us to be great.” After one show, she says if she’d been a ticket buyer, she’d be disappointed, but the ever-supportive Carey tells her, “You’re being way too hard on yourself because the show was great. People were stoked.”
I expected that Pink got minions to look after her and her family, so it was an eye-opener to see her chopping potatoes, changing nappies and styling her own hair.
We’re reminded of her status when we see the family travelling by private jet, and Pink says whereas she used to have 24 suitcases, she downsized so the children could have some bags and now she “only” has 17.
I was shocked that some reviews describe the documentary as boring due to the lack of conflict, “drama and dirt”. For one thing, any entertainment critic who finds this film boring is in the wrong job, and for another, while we might not see Pink get angry, we see her face a number of physical and mental challenges.
For example, when Willow gets sick, Pink is caught between wanting to care for her and needing to make sure she doesn’t get sick herself. Singing while keeping up with the show’s demanding choreography is a different type of battle, especially when the stage area is significantly enlarged. And on one occasion, one of her famous stunts went wrong and she got hurt.
We see Pink passing time on the road by making a blanket for Willow, and sure, it’s not very rock ‘n’ roll, but over the years she and her music have matured and evolved – and so have her long-term fans.
Some reviews claim the documentary doesn’t refer enough to difficult times from her past, such as her temporary separation from Carey. Pink does refer to her parents splitting up and the impact of her own childhood on her life and approach to motherhood, but I think director Michael Gracey was right not to dwell on the past any further, not least because the past has already been covered elsewhere. It’s today that matters, and talking about her relationship with her “rock”, Carey, Pink says, “I’ve never been happier with someone in my life.”
Another review criticises the documentary for being “self-congratulatory”. The Beautiful Trauma tour was the second highest-grossing tour of all time by a female solo artist and the 10th highest-grossing tour of all time. It sold over 3 million tickets and earned nearly $400million.
This week, at the Billboard Music Awards, the 41-year-old, whose career has already spanned over 20 years, deservedly became the youngest person to receive the Icon Award, which in the past has been presented to artists including Prince, Cher and Mariah Carey.
I think she’s more than entitled to give herself a huge pat on the back.
Who knows how much longer Pink is going to want to swing upside down from chandeliers and fly around stadiums at 30 miles per hour? She says she’ll still be on the stage when she’s 85, and while it’s an amusing mental image, it was (probably) just a joke. But the fact that she has just released All I Know So Far certainly gives fans hope that the adventures are far from over.
- P!nk: All I Know So Far is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.