Concert at the Zoo: Pink Martini

On Sunday we went to the Oregon Zoo in Portland … for a concert.  As soon as I learned that such a thing existed, I was very excited – and all the more so when I learned that Pink Martini was one of the groups performing this summer.  John’s parents have been raving about them for years and recommending that we see the if we ever have a chance – and we did, so we took it.

We didn’t see much of the zoo – only an animal or two as we walked through to the concert field – so that part of it was only a novelty.

We got there quite early and got a great spot, near the front and in the shade.  There’s a lowest tier of grass reserved for dancing and standing, and we were able to stake out a spot right behind it, at the edge of the stage.

We sat and read, talked, knit (me only on that one), and had dinner.  Unfortunately we’d misunderstood the website and thought that outside food and drink weren’t allowed, so while the zoo food was fine, we did regret not having a nice picnic dinner prepared ahead of time like most of the people around us.  We’ll know better for next time!

The concert itself was great – it started out well and got better as it progressed.  The opener was the PHAME mixed vocal ensemble, composed entirely of people with developmental disabilities.  They were pretty good singers, very excited and enthusiastic.

Then, before the show started, a man in the crowd proposed to his girlfriend.  Their first date had been at a Pink Martini Zoo concert three years ago – it was very sweet.

During the actual concert, there were songs in English, French, Croatian, Japanese, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, a wonderful cello solo, Norman Leyden (now 94) on the clarinet (for quite a few songs!), Saori Yuki (evidently the “Barbra Streisand of Japan”) singing various songs including “Puff, the Magic Dragon” in Japanese, Masumi Timson on the koto.

The front dance area was sparse at first …

… but as the concert proceeded, more and more people got up to dance.



I love people watching.

The encore may have been my favorite part – everyone came back to the stage (including the PHAME ensemble) and Norman Leyden was given center stage and another clarinet solo.  We were so impressed – at how good he is, and that he’s on stage at 94.  Wow.

All in all it was a very fun evening, and we’re already planning to go again next summer.  I definitely recommend, if you’re near Portland.


2 thoughts on “Concert at the Zoo: Pink Martini

  1. Julianne and John,
    I am so VERY pleased that you chose to attend and that you had such a fine time. Pink M has never let us down and it is reassuring that they and others with them did so well for you. IF I remember correctly, in addition to the flamboyant pianist/leader and the outstanding female vocalist, they have a very talented trumpetist. Did they? Love, Rob

    • Hmm, the pianist seemed kind of normal to me, but otherwise all seems to match – the lead singer was good, and the trumpet was as well – although so was the cellist, violinist, trombone player … in fact, I think we definitely were more impressed with the instrumentalists than the lead singer. But everyone was quite good!

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