During the concert film “All I Know So Far,” a 10-year old Alecia Moore is seen in a home movie, stepping up to a mic and delivering a rendition of Madonna’s “Oh Father” with control and authority. It’s also revealed that she took up competitive gymnastics as a child in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, practicing five days a week. Both offer clues to the little girl’s future.
Alecia, better known now around the world as P!NK, one of the most successful touring artists of all time, returned for two sold-out hometown concerts Sept. 18-19 at Citizens Bank Park in nearby Philadelphia, performing for some 80,000 fans, friends and family on her way to No. 10 on Pollstar’s third-quarter Top 100 Artist Grosses chart.
“Yeah, hard to believe, right? The little girl from Doylestown, Pennsylvania,” P!NK says, laughing. “It was a dream come true.”
As of Aug. 16, she’d played to more than 800,000 fans during Pollstar’s 2023 Q3 reporting period, grossing nearly $116.7 million. And with her current “Summer Carnival Tour” running through North American stadiums through November, plus another European leg that keeps her on the road deep into 2024, there’s much more to come.
She’s on pace to approach her record year in 2019, when she topped Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart with more than 1.81 million tickets sold and grossing $215.2 million. One major difference between then and now is that the Top 10 tours, to date, are primarily stadium efforts – possibly unprecedented on its own. Of the 10, three were tours by solo women artists, also all stadium-level acts. P!NK joins Taylor Swift and Beyoncé in the Top 10, perhaps to less fanfare but unquestionably in the same elite tier.
P!NK considers those results a win-win-win for women artists, rather than as a media-driven, artificial deathmatch competition. She’s glad to see everyone succeed. And she’s unbothered at the media attention directed at Swift and Queen Bey, as long as she’s also in the room.
“I cannot be mad at that,” P!NK says. “I do get the competition question a bunch, and I don’t think any one of us women feels that way, because I think all of us have been around long enough to realize that we can all win at the same time. And it feels pretty good to be among this group of women. And how could a person that sells 2 million tickets ever complain about anything?,” she says with a chuckle.
The hometown triumph wasn’t limited to Philadelphia; two days prior to her Philly homecoming, P!NK also headlined the massive Music Midtown at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, where she once lived and recorded tracks for LaFace Records, where she was – as a 16-year-old in 1995 – initially positioned as an R&B artist.
P!NK’s return to those cities was more than 20 years in the making, and with the help of a talented and loyal team that includes manager Roger Davies, Marshall Arts agent Barrie Marshall, creative director Baz Halpin of Silent House, and Live Nation Senior VP of Touring Brad Wavra. All have worked diligently and cooperatively to build a career to last.
Davies isn’t entirely sure of his first encounter with P!NK – he jokes there are multiple origin stories – but is confident it had to do with an introduction from one-time LaFace publicist Matt Shelton. In addition to P!NK, Davies is best known for guiding the careers of some of the most acclaimed women in popular music, including Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Cher, Olivia Newton-John, Sade and more.
“Matt Shelton was staying with her in Atlanta, when she was living there and recording for LaFace Records,” Davies recalls. “They were watching the Tina [Turner] movie, ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’. One story has her saying, ‘Oh, I want that guy to manage me.’ And Matt said, ‘Oh, no problem, I’ll call Roger.’ I was in London and he did call me and I did meet up with her in America. I didn’t know much about her because she’d only done one album then. She was doing tracks.
“I said, ‘Well, for me it’s really important you become a live touring artist because that’s what I do.” And they went to work.
P!NK opened shows for *NSYNC in the early aughts and headlined small clubs and theaters, but Davies had bigger plans for the girl with the big voice and bigger ambitions.
“You’ve got to become a worldwide artist because you know there’s a whole world out there,” Davies told her. “Be big in America. You should be big in Japan; you can be big in Australia.” A native of Australia, Davies knows the market well.
And he was right: P!NK has been a massive draw in Australia for almost two decades. In 2010, her “Funhouse” tour, promoted by Michael Coppel Presents, did 58 shows and grossed A$80 million ($72 million), setting a new record for female artists in that region.
In fact, 10 of P!NK’s 25 all-time biggest grosses have taken place in Australia or New Zealand, including the top two that both took place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. During a run from July 7 through Aug. 26, 2013, she sold 235,187 tickets there for a total gross of $29,451,002; her second-biggest run there moved 157,811 tickets and grossed $20,213,756.
And, in 2024, she’s on track to pass the 3 million career ticket mark in the region. P!NK wraps her “Summer Carnival Tour” at the 25,000-capacity Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville in Far North Queensland on March 23, 2024.
“It’s been the thrill of a lifetime to promote P!NK’s six Australian tours since 2004, and the 20th anniversary of that association will see P!NK surpass 3 million tickets sold in Australia and New Zealand,” Coppel, now chairman of Live Nation Australasia, recently told Pollstar.
According to Live Nation Australasia, P!NK will play 16 stadiums on her Oceania trek, with more than 725,000 in ticket sales expected to make it the biggest-selling Australian tour by a female artist.
“The Australians thought she was Australian,” Davies says of P!NK’s appeal Down Under. “She’s very relatable for Australians because what you see is what you get, it’s very honest, and she’s so normal.”
Davies admits P!NK had to work for the acclaim, though. “In the early days, we didn’t do too well and we said to Michael, ‘We’ll make it up to you.’ The last time we went back there, we did 68 arena shows in Australia, so we made it up to him,” he says, laughing.
Davies’ strong relationship with legendary UK agent Barrie Marshall of Marshall Arts helped move the needle in Europe, as well.
“I am fortunate to have a very strong relationship with Roger Davies over many years,” Marshall says. “As everyone knows, he is the most successful manager in the world and his creative connection with his artists has incredible longevity.
“I talked to him – and he invited me to go out and see her play live. It was in a small club in Phoenix. She was young and feisty, very connected to the audience – and her voice stunned me. Her voice is immense! We had the chance to chat after the show – I think she was checking me out to see if I was someone she could work with,” Marshall continues.
“Happily for me, we got on like a house on fire – so Roger and she agreed that we would have the opportunity to promote her shows. It began in 2002 at the Scala in London’s King’s Cross. Since then, I’m proud to say that we have arranged and promoted all her shows across the UK and Europe.”
Her last show at Wembley Stadium in London, with a capacity of 72,615, provides a good example of P!NK’s draw in the UK. The finale of her 2019 European tour that was filmed for the finale of “All I Know So Far” was a two-night sellout, moving 145,230 tickets and grossing $16,568,721.
“The record successes really began here first,” Marshall says. “Roger Davies motivated a great deal of support from her record company, working very closely with her. The hits came – her writing talent grew; the size of the shows grew – and the audiences grew with her. Her fans are extremely loyal – there is a great deal of love for her. And of course that has escalated on a worldwide scale.”
Perhaps the glue that holds P!NK’s global touring success together is Brad Wavra. He’s had strong and lengthy relationships with Davies, Marshall and Coppel and has overseen her North American touring for Live Nation, also for more than 20 years. Wavra stresses that while P!NK’s biggest markets were initially overseas, he says that North America has caught up and is now her biggest market.
“[P!NK’s] definitely up there in a lot of categories across the world,” Wavra says. “It took a while to develop, especially in America. She had big growth in Australia or Europe first, but didn’t really, really connect immediately [in North America]. It’s only been recently that the American audience is connected. But this year we are her biggest market. North America will now be our biggest market. But it took this long to get here.”
He further explains, “The play was spectacular in Australia and New Zealand. She still has those records over there. In Europe she evolved even quicker, and that was also her second home. She was a stadium act over there for some time. Now, for the first time, she’s in the stadiums in America. And we surprised ourselves at the depth of that demand and the consistency across this whole run so far.”
The demand is such that P!NK has graduated from large arenas to baseball stadiums in America, though she’d performed in stadiums across Europe for years. The reason for that, Wavra says, is because her show is unique and her vocal performance, as well as her high-flying aerial acrobatics, is nothing short of spectacular. She truly leaves it all on stage, every night.
“And It’s not just in the big cities,” Wavra says. “Total attendance is what we’ve been pushing the boundaries on with a show like this. America has connected now at the level that she’s seen in the rest of the world. And we think that once everybody sees the show, that happens. There’s a million people who see their first P!NK show, and when they walk away and out on the street, two out of three will say it’s the best show of the summer. She’s very disciplined and delivering her brand of rock ‘n’ roll to this audience here.”
In what’s been dubbed “The Year Of The Stadium Tour,” P!NK and her team were ready to roll the dice on her ability to fill out huge American outdoor venues and do so spectacularly with the help of internationally acclaimed creative director Baz Halpin.
Halpin, the founder of Silent House, is a crucial part of P!NK’s longtime creative team, and a veteran of Super Bowl productions, a Las Vegas residency with Katy Perry, and tours with the Jonas Brothers and, of course, P!NK. Her “Summer Carnival Tour” is no different – Halpin’s design is, as always, colorful, fun, innovative and accommodating of a performance that includes jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics, stage spanning dance numbers, and up-close-and-personal acoustic connections made with fans.
While noting that he’s produced massive stadium shows overseas for P!NK for several years already, “Stadium touring used to be the outlier,” Halpin says. “It’s becoming more common – just look at the amount of stadiums that are out at the moment. It is tricky for us moving between the bunch of them. But it’s like anything else; it’s all about the planning. You have to have the right team. You get a great production team, a great production manager. You have to make decisions that are smart.
“With any show, you can get yourself into the same problems in a theater that you can in an arena. A stadium is not necessarily harder, it just requires a bit more planning. Fortunately now, people have done so many stadium tours. P!NK’s first stadium tour was back in 2009 in Europe. So that’s 14 years of experience for her alone doing venues like this. It’s about going in with your eyes open, knowing where to look, where the pitfalls are, and trying to address them before you get there. And, thankfully, production managers, promoters, crew, everybody’s done that with the artist. They all know what to expect now.”
One thing that was perhaps unexpected to P!NK and her team was the palpable change in her American audiences from the pre-pandemic days, as well as the emergence of women artists driving the concert economy in 2023.
“It feels like women are dominating in a way that maybe I haven’t been around for,” P!NK says, recalling the entertainment foremothers of decades past. “The Chers, and Tina Turners and Bette Midlers and Janet Jacksons and Sades, and all of those women. It really feels that way. And I think of mothers and daughters. And fathers, too, who built bridges to their daughters for three generations.
“But I also see a lot more men in the audience, older men as well, that are for the first time kind of really open and curious and supportive about this female power,” P!NK continues. “At first it was very confusing, but now I’m diggin’ it.”
What those audience newbies can expect is an entertainment tour de force from P!NK, an escape from the daily realities of life in the world as it is, delivered in a powerful and empowering way. And fans should expect even more of it going forward – Davies and Marshall suggest there will be yet another tour after the conclusion of “Summer Carnival Tour,” in order to visit markets missed on the current outing.
“Hell yeah, we’re going to ride this thing ‘til the wheels come off!” P!NK says, laughing.
But in all seriousness, P!NK’s demonstrated success at the baseball stadium level has shown her team that she’s ready for even bigger stages – and NFL stadium shows in the U.S. are definitely within the realm of probability in 2024 and beyond. Watch for her at the upper reaches of next year’s top tours lists, bring a few hours of escape to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.
“That’s the whole thing,” P!NK says of her show. “It is an escape from the everyday bullshit. We like to believe that we’re a conduit to people’s feelings and to letting some of it go. And we kind of walk around every day with these walls, that we have to survive within just to get by every day. And we’re walking around with this low-level trauma. We get together in this building and we fucking let it go and we feel it, we grieve it, we embrace it and we celebrate it. It’s freaking alchemy. It’s beautiful.”