Martinis are best served chilled. Perhaps that is why the Chicago weather decided to turn on the chill for the July 1st arrival of Pink Martini to Ravinia. As the sun set and the temperature dropped, the musical group from Oregon heated up the stage with their signature worldly sound.

Pink Martini is a ten-piece globe-trotting ensemble from Portland, Oregon that plays a kind of world cocktail music, often accompanying full symphony orchestras, playing latin, jazz, and classical pop. It’s the kind of music you’d hear in a 1950’s style bar or a French or Spanish café. Ravinia provided the perfect background for the musical group though the cold summer night brought out a small, but enthusiastic, crowd. Guests on the lawn danced, sang, and toasted to the group as lead vocalist China Forbes belted out some of their most well-known hits including “Sympathique,” “Amado Mio,” “Donde Estas Yolanda?” and “Ich Dich Liebe.” Pink Martini would have had a larger audience were it not for the exceedingly long opener and headliner.

pink martiniII

The Von Trapps opened for Aimee Mann and Pink Martini. While the opener was a perfect pairing to Pink Martini the other headliner was more like a bitter shot to swallow before a sweet chaser. The Von Trapps is a musical quartet that are direct descendants of the Trapp Family Singers (made famous by The Sound of Music). They hold true to their family legacy offering up sweet harmonies and a similar worldly sound to their touring partner. Songs like “Storm,” and “Kuroneko No Tango” have calming and catchy tones everyone can enjoy. Aimee Mann, however, played a tediously long set that did nothing to warm the chilly crowd. Her songs blended together like a sad, bland drink. At one point, lawn guests packed up their bags and left in droves as the set dragged on for nearly an hour. No song was particularly memorable or enjoyable to listen to. The remainder of the tour should really cut out the middle “Mann” and stick to the coupling of The Von Trapps and Pink Martini.

the von trapps

Under normal circumstances, Ravinia would have been the perfect venue for the Portland musical group. But the evening proved too cold and the musical roadblocks too long for audiences to truly enjoy Pink Martini and the evening. Hopefully the next time the musical group comes to Chicago they can serve up their signature sound to enthusiastic, and warm, audiences. Audiences can still see amazing acts this summer at Ravinia; for tickets, show schedules, and more information visit www.ravinia.org.

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