Here is the part of Israel you may miss if all you catch is from the news!
Israelis love culture. There are hundreds of bands playing rock, jazz, classical, folk and everything else. Musicians from all over the world come to Israel - especially since the 1990's. Frank Sinatra, Jethro Tull, David Bowie, Eric Clapton have all performed in Israel. The 60's jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears did two shows in Israel in September 2008. In the same month, Paul McCartney spent a few days in Tel Aviv and treated Israelis to a 3 hour show.
There are also lots of artists here. When we were on a Caribbean cruise in 2005, we were surprised to see the many Israeli artists represented at the art auction. In 1994, I made a small contribution to Israeli culture with a Hebrew language travel guide to Jordan.
Between 1998 and 2003, I saw lots of live music in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Most of it was rock and blues at bars and music venues. Many were free shows in Jerusalem's pubs, with the hat passed around during and after the performance. Jerusalem isn't known for having the nightlife that Tel Aviv has, but the bars and clubs always have live music.
In those days, a two set performance at a place like Syndrome (Jerusalem) or Camelot (Tel Aviv) would cost 35-60 shekels ($10-$20).
Of all the bands I saw during those five years, Ronnie Peterson and Shlomo Mizrachi stand out. Both are among Israel's best blues guitarists. I have two Ronnie Peterson cd's. The first is an upbeat collection of blues and the second is a collection of songs he's done with Israel's top musicians.
Around that time, Herbie Hancock played in Tel Aviv. That was my first jazz show. The next would be in Buenos Aires in 2007 and now I'm a big fan of all sorts of jazz - Bossa Nova, Latin Jazz, and Dixie Jazz for starters.
I saw Nurit Galron perform on March 19, 2005. The show was at Kibbutz Eilot - a 5 minute drive from Eilat. She played 18 songs in the 75 minute show and I recognized about half of them at the time. Ilan Vertzberg, her guitarist, was very impressive. Nurit Galron and Yehudit Ravitz are my two favorite Israeli singers. Both have released dozens of cd's and have been creating music and performing since the 1970's. Above the ticket are three of the many Nurit Galron cd's I have.
I saw Blood, Sweat & Tears in Tel Aviv on September 22, 2008. Paul McCartney played three days later. It was either Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Harlem Globetrotters (in October) or the McCartney show. I saw Paul in Miami in 2005 so went for some jazz-rock and basketball!
I was first exposed to Blood, Sweat & Tears on the radio in the 70's and 80's. Then in my 20's, I started listening to more Woodstock Festival music and rediscovered their songs. I bought their greatest hits in 2005 - we listen to it a lot. Their September 2008 show was unforgettable. Steve Katz, a founding member, introduced the band and spoke a bit about their history in between the songs. He also played harmonica, guitar and sang one beautiful song. The band was as good as he promised.
The two hour show covered their hits, some older and lesser known songs and even a few really nice sounding instrumental jazz songs. We had good seats and the sound was incredible. At one point, the singer said he'd heard kids in the hotel singing a Beatles song and the band played Got To Get You Into My Life. With Paul McCartney playing three days later, Israeli radio was playing Beatles and McCartney songs nonstop. They played the encore and we went up closer to the stage. At the end, they bowed, smiled and thanked us for being such a good audience. The clapping and cheering at the end made it clear to the band that we loved their performance.
I really appreciate that Steve Katz and Blood, Sweat & Tears played yet again in Israel. They have lots of fans here and Katz reminded us during the show that it wasn't their first time here. I'd go again!
The first photo of the band is from their website. Under it are three photos that we took during the show.
I found these photos and captions of their 2008 Israel tour on their My Space page..
Our great view from the Sheraton in Tel Aviv
Rob & Steve's TV interview backstage in Tel Aviv
Steve Katz doing a backstage TV interview before the show in Tel Aviv
Love You More at the Culture Palace in Tel Aviv
Lucretia at the Culture Palace in Tel Aviv
Steve Katz introducing the band in Tel Aviv
Steve Jankowski in the radio recording truck in Tel Aviv with engineer Graham
Dave Gellis and Steve Jankowski in Tel Aviv
The end of a great show in Tel Aviv - Sept. 22, 2008
Smiling Phases in Tel Aviv
Horns down stage for You've Made Me So Very Happy
The band touring around Jerusalem - September 2008
90 minutes before the show in the 2000 year old Shuni Fortress in Binyamina, Israel - September 23, 2008
Rob and Steve on I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know in Binyamina
Gary Foote having fun on stage in Israel
Dave Gellis playing Go Down Gamblin' at the Shuni Fortress in Israel
On October 14, 2008, we saw The Harlem Globetrotters play The Washington Generals in Tel Aviv. What a game, what a show!
We had 5th row seats. Special K was the lead player. He was hilarious and even said some funny things in Hebrew. The rest of the team was full of personality and they made it look easy. Everything they do is magic. I first saw the Globetrotters in Miami in the 80's and I'm sure I'll see them again one day!
During Passover 2009, we went on a trip to Jerusalem. We saw Ladino singer Yasmin Levy perform. We loved every minute of it and it was a great reason to get us to Jerusalem during Passover. Her band was excellent as well - they bring together a unique sound and its amazing how these Ladino musicians and singers are helping to preserve a Jewish language. I bought this cd at the show.
Bob Dylan in Israel - June 20, 2011
I went to this show with a good friend. We had a terrific time! I was ready for a very raw voice and was impressed - Bob Dylan's voice was a lot better than I expected. Yes, he is 70 years old in 2011. But these songs are classics. Even the newer songs were fun to listen to. The crowd was quiet and in a good mood. They ran trains from a nearby train station after the show so it was easy to get home. The newspaper article is from Yisrael Ha-Yom (Israel Today), a free daily newspaper. The first audience recording of the show appeared a day later - I can't believe how sharp it came out. Ten days later, another similar recording showed up. A hardcore Dylan fan collected the HD YouTube clips and put together a dvd - so I have two audio recordings and one dvd. I am so glad I was at this show!!
1. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking (Bob on keyboard)
2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob center stage on harp)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar)
4. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob center stage on harp)
5. Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
6. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on guitar)
7. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp)
8. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob center stage without harp then keyboard)
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. Forgetful Heart (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on viola)
11. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)
13. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
14. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
15. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on guitar, Donnie on violin)
Bob Dylan - guitar, keyboard, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - violin, viola, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel
If you're interested in Israel, visit my other related pages...
The Israel Trail
Jerusalem in the Snow
Jerusalem during Passover 2009
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