Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Shaken and Stirred

Pink Martini

In one word: AWE.SOME.

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?
* Sympathique
* Andalucia

* Una Notte A Napoli
* Clementine
* Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu
* Hang On Little Tomato
* Song of the Black Swan

* Everywhere
* Mar Desconocido
* Taya Tan
* City of Night
* Bukra Wba’do
* Hey Eugene!
* Dosvedanya Mio Bombino
* Brazil

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


ME said...

Love this band. LOVE 'em. And love spreading the love, too. I've taken all 3 CDs to a home makeover/church service project and everyone loves the music.

I've caught 7 or 8 live shows--including multiple shows at the Hollywood Bowl and a killer New Year's Eve performance at Disney Hall.

What you get at the live performaces--besides the contageous energy--is the banter amongst PM and between PM and the audience. They're just all around FUN.

I second it: see them live if it's humanly possible!

Mary Ellen

Anonymous said...

I'm sold! Thanks for the tip.

- Phoebe

Janet M Kincaid said...

ME: I'm seriously thinking of driving up to New Hampshire in July to see them perform up there, they're that good. I can't think of a single other artist or group I've seen that I've felt that way about. These guys and gals ROCK! Thank you so much for putting me on to them.

Phoebe: If you can get to Park City in July, I highly recommend going. It's totally worth the trip!

ME said...

I may start planning vacations around Pink Martini's concert schedule. They don't come to Texas that often, which makes for the perfect excuse to see them in CA or the Pacific Northwest.

If they still played at weddings, I would have been insensibly tempted.

Mary Ellen

Anonymous said...

We're seeing them here at the zoo at the end of July. Should be fab.

Janet M Kincaid said...

ME: I'm thinking I might drive up to New Hampshire just to see them again.

JA: Pink Martini at the Zoo! How fun would that be? Do enjoy!