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( Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pink Martini and singer Storm Large during concert at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah Tuesday July 9, 2013.
Review: Pink Martini serves up smooth at Red Butte Garden

First Published Jul 09 2013 11:13 pm • Last Updated Jul 10 2013 09:59 am

She sang in Spanish, German, Japanese and Turkish. And then she sang about ketchup.

Storm Large, the lead singer of Pink Martini, mesmerized the capacity crowd at Red Butte Garden on Tuesday evening with not just her lyrics, but also her stage presence. For a band that refers to itself as "a little orchestra," Large is anything but little. Her voice and constant dancing onstage commanded the Portland-based band as she seamlessly moved between samba mixes, swing jazz tunes and a little bit of humor.

At a glance

Pink Martini

Where » Red Butte Garden

When » Tuesday, July 9

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She made her presence known as soon as bandleader and founder Thomas Lauderdale introduced her after the band’s first song. Lauderdale said she would sing "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," made famous by Doris Day.

Large sang it in its original way: in Spanish.

Such was the trend the rest of the night as the next song was a tune with half-English and half-German lyrics. Afterward, it was a Japanese number that perplexed much of the audience, but the smooth beats of the 11-piece band were more than enough to keep listeners in high spirits.

Just when the band settled into Latin grooves, Lauderdale invited the audience onto the stage to dance to "The Flying Squirrel." Hundreds walked up to the stage and the surrounding spaces to sway while members of the band took turns belting solo pieces.

After a short intermission, Pink Martini returned to the smooth Latin grooves, and Large again dazzled with her command of Spanish lyrics. Lauderdale then took the microphone to tell a story about a tomato and its transformation into ketchup. The song is actually one of the band’s most popular hits, "Hang On Little Tomato."

The humor didn’t end there. Two songs later, Lauderdale said the next piece was a Japanese song, and "even though the lyrics are devastating, the beat is happy and skippy."

Before the third to last song, Lauderdale invited the audience again to take to the stage and dance to Pink Martini’s Latin grooves. The lyrics were mostly in Spanish, so a majority of the crowd most likely didn’t know what was being said.

It didn’t matter. The riffs were more than enough to earn the band praise.

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