Concert Review: Pink Martini, Nov 19, Massey Hall

Toronto – Portland-based Pink Martini played Massey Hall last Friday. It was a classy night of eclectic world music that had the crowd on their feet by the end of the show. The self-described “United Nations house band of the 60’s” certainly lived up to their name. Lead songstress China Forbes sang in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish. I probably missed a few languages there. Pink Martini is on a mini North American tour to hype up their latest holiday album Joy To The World (our review here).

Although the night did include a few of the better songs from their recent seasonal album, they spent most of their time digging into their discography to play old favourites like Dunde Estas, Yolanda, Amado Mio, and Brazil. The band was tight and the instrumentals were spot on. China Forbes was every bit as charismatic as I imagined she would be. Ringleader and pianist Thomas Lauderdale kept the crowd entertained in between songs with the inside track on their music.

“All the Turks, please come to the front of the stage” – Thomas Lauderdale

Easily the highlight of the night was when the band announced they were going to play a traditional Turkish folk song; all Turks in the audience were invited up to sing along. Enter Emre, a young Turkish man who got to the stage out of breath after having run down from the 2nd level balcony. It’s spontaneous things like this that make live music such a worthwhile pursuit. Thankfully for the band, our man Emre really could sing, he really did know the song, and he was immediately under the spell of the magical China Forbes. Who could blame him?

Emre did such a good job with the Turkish song that they kept him on stage for the remainder of the set and the encore. He was given maracas and played with the percussion section, occasionally dancing his way to China at the front. I’ll have to admit that his mix of bravado and uncertainty at being onstage at Massey Hall was both hilarious and endearing. At the end of Amado Mio, the entire band fell silent to allow China the opportunity to bring the song to a close; but there was Emre’s maracas in the back shaking away. It was as amazing as it was ridiculous.

Pink Martini live was every bit as fun as I hoped they would be. The spontaneity definitely made the show a memorable one, as China signed off with “Thank you for this crazy show!”

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Posted on by Mark in Concerts

One Response to Concert Review: Pink Martini, Nov 19, Massey Hall

  1. Wade

    The ‘lets all jump in the air’ press photo is sooooo over done.

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