Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Shaken and Stirred
The Portland, Ore.-based group performed last night at Wolf Trap and it was, hands down, the best concert I have ever been to. Worth every single one of those 1,800 pennies, plus fees, I spent on the ticket. (Hell, if the tickets had been five times that, it would have been worth the $90.) If they’re coming to a theater, concert hall, event, or venue near you, run—do not walk—to see and hear them.
The evening started with their interpretation of Ravel’s Bolero. Normally a piece I don’t often care for, in the hands and under the talent of this ensemble, it was a swaying, upbeat introduction that foreshadowed what we could expect the rest of the evening. In fact, at one point, I mislabeled this and thought they were playing the theme from “Lawrence of Arabia” because of its masterful handling and rousing strains and swells.
Led by Thomas Lauderdale, an extraordinary pianist and—dare I say it?—choreographer, the 12-piece ensemble of musicians, along with vocalist China Forbes, have set the standard for intelligent, yet fun, entertainment. Pink Martini Live is the best high outside of illegal substances and chocolate!
Out of three albums—Sympathique (1997), Hang On Little Tomato (2004), and Hey Eugene! (2007)—Pink Martini performed no less than two-thirds of their repertoire. Among the songs they sang (and in no particular order, because I didn’t take notes at the concert. Nor is the list exhaustive, for the same reason):
* Amado Mio
* Donda Estas, Yolanda?
* Una Notte A Napoli
* Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu
* Hang On Little Tomato
* Song of the Black Swan
* Mar Desconocido
* Taya Tan
* City of Night
* Bukra Wba’do
* Hey Eugene!
* Dosvedanya Mio Bombino
The last song—Brazil—was the final piece they performed as their encore, which featured a set of three songs to round out the night. From beginning to end, Pink Martini had us swaying, clapping our hands, dancing along, singing outloud, and just plain being blown away by this amazing group of artists and their talent. Bravo is a paltry accolade indeed!
Of the handful of concerts I’ve been to in my life, this one was the very best I’ve ever attended. In fact, I was listening to their CDs in my car this morning on the way into work and I’ve concluded the only way to hear Pink Martini properly is live, they’re that good! The CDs lose the texture, depth, and energy that the live appearances exude. Still, if you can’t see and hear Pink Martini live, buy their CDs. They, too, are worth every single penny.
To see if Pink Martini is coming to a venue near you, visit Pink Martini. To buy their CDs, visit their website or go to Amazon.com.
And like I said, if they are performing in your neighborhood, RUN and get tickets. Now! Believe me, you won’t regret a single minute of it.
Group Photo copyright: Pink Martini
Album covers courtesy of Pink Martini and Amazon.com