I was one of about five people my age at the Pink Martini concert at Eastman on Friday, so it was cool.
I didn’t know anyone, so I was on a date with myself. I must have looked pretty sad, because the people at the box office let me in for free. (I’ll take it.)
I knew nothing about Pink Martini going in. I thought it was going to be super casual, possibly with some jazzy influence, so I didn’t bother dressing up for the occasion. My jeans and tennis shoes, combined with the fact almost everyone in attendance was at least twice my age, made me feel a bit out of place. Not that it mattered — nobody really cared, especially once the music started.
I felt electricity as Pink Martini began their set. Vocalist China Forbes brought such a strong presence to the stage — not just through her powerful, smooth vocals, but also through her energy, movement, and ability to engage the crowd.
What really blew me away was my inability to place their genre. The first song had elements of a tango or salsa, but there was a soft jazz quality as well. Other songs sounded like they could have been from musicals, but not quite. The layers of instrumentation pointed to some classical influence too. It was such a creative musical mixture that I couldn’t help but be floored by the experience.
Every single song had me feeling some kind of way — there was a lot of sensuality, emotion, and power behind each one. I also thoroughly enjoyed the variety in their set. Some songs were slow and more moody while others were more upbeat and cheerful, and I found myself feeling a range of emotions throughout the night. To me, that’s how you know that music is serving its purpose. I need to feel something to enjoy it, and that definitely happened.
One of the coolest parts about them as a band is that they draw from so many different cultures. They sang songs in French, German, Turkish, Spanish, Japanese, and Italian, and it demonstrated the universality of music and its nature as a common language. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand a lot of the lyrics. I felt the emotion and the power, and that connection between me and the music was undeniably there.
The best song they did was a Spanish-language one about vulnerability, called “Sola Soy,” sung by Edna Vazquez. Her vocals were very strong, with so much feeling, and her guitar playing during the climax with the whole band was simply incredible. I had such hardcore chills that I was freezing, and I was sad when the song ended. I could have listened to it forever. It definitely helped break up the show a bit, since a lot of the other songs had a similar feel and style to each other.
I found the part after the intermission less engaging. I enjoyed the songs at the beginning a lot more, but that’s because more of those songs were slow and more sensual and angsty, which I’m far more into than upbeat music not in a minor key.
I also found some of the later songs a little boring, despite the amazing vocals. They were slow and monotonous for my taste. By the end, a lot of the songs started to sound pretty similar to the point that I was ready for it to be done. But when it was, I was thoroughly satisfied with my experience. There was so much unique energy that it was entirely worth my time, and I was glad to be exposed to more music. I know concerts are good when I come away with songs I end up adding to my playlists, and this one definitely did that for me.