Concert Review: Ivri Lider

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I’ve been to a lot of concerts of all different genres. From the loud and heavy metal concerts to the softer, more serious operas, I love them all. Some I remember more vividly and some have faded. Ivri Lider’s performance at the Eleanor Welch Casey Theatre in Regis College on April 4 is one of the shows that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget.

Lider was on a special tour. The Israeli singer/songwriter would be performing without the full band he usually appears with; it would be him and an accompanist on a piano and a guitar.  I’d never seen him live before, and wasn’t overly familiar with his music. I had heard a song here and there, but not to the point that I could really sing any of his songs. He’s well known in Israel for his songwriting and I had heard enough to know that it would be worth it, so I got tickets, grabbed a friend, and went to the show.

When we arrived at the venue, I saw that on the stage, there was a beautiful grand piano, a keyboard, and a guitar. There was only one microphone stand, though, which meant only Lider was going to do the singing.

When the lights finally dimmed and Lider came out, the audience was immediately very receptive to him. This show was actually the last of the five city run he was on and it was obvious that Lider was going to make sure it went out with a bang. The first song was just him on the piano singing a slow song, but the audience was singing along loudly from the very first note; he seemed almost shocked by the how well the audience accepted him. Before he began the second song, he introduced his accompanist Adi Goldstein who went over to the keyboard. The two of them were a great pair; they played seamlessly, never missing a beat. It was almost like watching a mythical creature with two heads, because it was just perfect.

As the night went on, the songs got faster and the audience got rowdier and louder. Even though it was just Lider and Goldstein, with no bassist or drummer, they had brought a computer with them that provided the rhythm, which elevated the performance from just a boring acoustic set to something more energetic. For the most part, Lider stayed on the grand piano and Goldstein on the keys, but Lider got off the piano a few times to let Goldstein play the piano while he played the guitar, or to just stand in front of the audience and sing. For one song, he even went into the audience and sang to a fan.

The entire show was extremely interactive. He had the audience in the palm of his hand from the first note to the last. The audience pulled triple duty as spectator, back-up vocalist, and drummer. He had a great rapport with the audience and never felt condescending. You could really feel just how much Lider enjoys doing what he does, particularly when he was playing the piano. Goldstein, as well, was amazing. He was the most talented pianist I have ever had the pleasure of seeing perform live. The best way I can describe his playing was like his superpower is speaking to the piano keys and bending them to his will to pull off music that can’t even be comprehended, it was so good.

The best part about the entire show was that, despite the fact that it was only two musicians on stage, I felt like I was at a huge rock show with a full band. Some large bands I’ve seen haven’t been able to have that amount of energy and audience response, but Lider managed to pull it off and make it look easy. He seems to live and breathe what he does and it shows. The setlist was full of his most popular songs. Most were in Hebrew, but there were one or two in English. The beauty of the night was that it didn’t matter what language he was singing in – he could have been singing in gibberish – because the music became its own language; there was something deeper that went on that night between the musicians and the audience and it was just beautiful.

Ivri Lider’s show was the best concert I have been to so far in 2017; the rest of the concerts I attend this year, and in future years, will have a very high standard they’ll be held to. I’m hoping Lider comes back soon with a full band, but I’ll take anything I can get; I just want to go to another performance of his. The enchantment began when he got on stage and still hasn’t ended.

Post and Photo by Karen Shalev

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