off with their ties! – part III

after intermission, a beaming thomas lauderdale strode boldly onstage with an almost-visible thought bubble floating above his bespectacled head: “i can’t believe i’m going to attempt this for a third time!”  clearly, it was a big night for thomas.  oh, sure, he’s been classically trained, and yes, earlier in the season he played rhapsody in blue with the orchestra, but c’mon people, this weekend was the first time our hometown hero has ever attempted to play a major classical concerto with a major orchestra over four consecutive nights, period.  it was all very exciting.  with a rumble of the timpani, we were off into the brave new world of edvard grieg’s piano wonderland!  never missing an opportunity to mop his brow, mr. lauderdale was such a bundle of nervous energy that a rug had been placed under the piano bench to dampen the sound of his left foot’s incessant thumping.  slightly stumbled runs, fuzzy entrances, and brief technical hiccups (lasting approximately .73 seconds) were occasionally noticed and were quickly forgiven by me and about 98% of the crowd.  the other 2% can suck it.  yeah, yeah, i know you’re not supposed to clap after the first movement, but goddamn it was all very exciting.  wildly gesticulating with every available limb throughout the music (whether he was playing or not), the pink martini frontman tried his darnedest not to conduct from his bench, but whatevs.  make no bones about it… this blonde bombshell was a live wire in front of 88 keys, sporadically making eye contact with audience members (gasp!) and expending every ounce of effort to wow us, all the while reminding everyone what it meant to be alive.  is mr. lauderdale the best piano player on the planet?  no.  is he the best piano player in portland?  probably.  and that alone was worth celebrating.  it was all very, very, very exciting.


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