View a photo gallery below.
What a wonderful show. Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort and Artown did it again! Pink Martini is a huge band with a vast repertoire of international songs with a special emphasis on Latin American rhythms. They opened with the iconic “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel. The set was filled with music from all over the world: Turkey, Greece, Cuba, Latin America, the United States, Asia, plus more that I can’t recall. There was a heavy Latin influence all night long. It was a beautiful show.
Founder Robert Lauderdale is a wonderful and humorous speaker, sharing entertaining stories between songs. Lead singer China Forbes has a beautiful voice and presence about her. She was fantastic at engaging the audience.
Audience members were invited up to the stage to participate on more than one occasion. First was when Forbes asked if there were any Turkish audience members. They were all invited up to sing along to “Askim Bahardi.” Toward the end of the first set the stage became overcrowded when Forbes invited all woman up to the stage to help with “I Am Woman.” There was no shortage of volunteers. To close the first set they played an instrumental that featured solos by all called “Flying Squirrel.”
The second set began with the Christmas classic “We Three Kings.” After a song that Forbes wrote many years ago about a drunken make-out session, Lauderdale welcomed local artist and Hug High School sophomore Zoey Mansfield to center stage to sing “White Christmas.” She spent the entire second set singing backup and did a great job. The remainder of the set consisted of rhythmic Latin and oriental selections that ramped up the enthusiasm in the crowd. They ended the set with the traditional New Year’s Eve song, “Auld Lang Syne.”
For their encore they invited everybody who wanted to up on the stage to form a giant conga line to the exotic samba, “Brasil.” I would guess that there were close to a hundred people up on the stage in the conga line.
I really love the feel of the Latin American styles of music like the bachata, bossa nova, merengue, rumba, salsa, and samba. You can’t help but smile and move when a really good band is playing these songs, and Pink Martini fits that bill perfectly. This was one of those evenings when I decided to go to a show of an artist that I knew absolutely nothing about. This was a winner. You ought to try it sometime.
“Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love”
“A Snowglobe Christmas”
“Do You Hear What I Hear?”
“Ov Sirun Sirun”
“I Am Woman”
“We Three Kings”
“White Christmas” (featuring Zoey Mansfield of Hug High School)
“¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda?”
“Zundoko – Bushi”
“Una Notte en Napoli”
“Auld Lang Syne”
MEET THE ORCHESTRA*
Thomas M. Lauderdale – Piano
China Forbes – Vocals
Storm Large – Vocals
Phil Baker – Upright Bass
Gavin Bondy – Trumpet
Pansy Chang – Cello
Nicholas Crosa – Violin
Brian Lavern Davis – Congas, Drums, Percussion
Dan Faehnle – Guitar
Timothy Nishimoto – Vocals, Percussion
Kyle Mustain – English Horn, Producer
Robert Taylor – Trombone
Antonis Andreou – Trombone
Anthony Jones – Drums, Percussion
Miguel Bernel – Congas, Percussion
Reinhardt Melz – Drums & Percussion
Diego Bucio – Tour Manager
*Taken from their website. Not all members were present.
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.