June 10th, 2009

storyteller doll

Pink Martini

I went to see Pink Martini at Wolf Trap last night. The opening act was another Portland, Oregon group, Sneakin' Out. They were entirely instrumental and mostly rock, with interesting arrangements of songs like "Another Brick in the Wall" and "Paint It Black." I'm not sure I'd want to listen to a full evening of their sound, but a half hour was enjoyable. I also would have preferred them to have been dressed more formally. The t-shirt and shorts (and, in the case of the drummer, full red skirt which he did not have the legs for) seemed too casual, especially given the formality of attire of the main act.

As for Pink Martini, they did a mix of familiar and new material. They opened with Ravel's "Bolero," which is a piece I am admittedly lukewarm towards. (This is my issue with Ravel, though, not with Pink Martini.) Then China Forbes came out and, wow, can that woman sing! I'm not going to attempt to list everything the group performed, but there was really one song I didn't much care for. Some particular highlights were a performance of "Usku Dara" which was more than worthy of Eartha Kitt's legacy, "Dosvedanya Mio Bambino," "Kikuchiyo to mahshimasu," and the title songs from their first three albums. (They have two more albums coming out in the foreseeable future. And China Forbes has a solo album, which I bought.)

I'm certainly not managing to capture the awesomeness of the concert. One thing I appreciate is that each of the 12 musicians gets a chance to show off his or her virtuosity. I also like the wide mix of material they do, though I do still think they're at their best at the more Latin-infused numbers. (Part of that may, however, be my own musical biases.) At any rate, it was an excellent evening of music.

By the way, I am reminded of the one thing I dislike about going to Wolf Trap. Aside from the half hour or so it took me to find my car after the concert ended, it always takes ages to get out of there. And I ended up getting routed to the northern exit, which is a slightly longer trip home for me. At the very least, they could have better signs so you can figure out which lane you need to be in to get out the way you want to go.