The show began as usual with the HASC overture performed by Neginah Orchestra under the musical direction of Yisroel Lamm. But instead of the same overture as in past years the overture was led by Jim Hynes and Misha Guttenberg. It was very different, Jim Hynes played the trumpet, and Gutternberg played the violin. It ended up sounding really cool it had a unique rock/jazz/bluegrass flavor.
Next Nachum introduced Shlomo Katz to the HASC audience. I’ll say right from the start I was nervous how the crowd would react to the Katz brothers. Shlomo came out and did a little Calrbeach channeling, then he sung Shabbos Kodesh. A great song, but I’m not sure the crowd was receptive. Not helping was the fact that there were more sound problems, the mic wasn’t set up to capture Shlomo’s guitar. A pretty basic thing I would think that should have been covered in rehearsals.
Shlomo then talked a bit by telling a story of why we clap. Right hand says one thing, Left hand says another thing, but when you clap they make one sound together, b’achdus. A nice story that got the crowd more into it by asking them to clap and then he sang Niggun Nevo. At this point it did seem like the crowd enjoyed it, and the music was great. Steve Bill was on top of his game last night and him and Shlomo really jelled well.
After Shlomo finished his set there were a load of speeches. Same as every year, I was just surprised it came so early in the show and I felt it stopped the flow. As we were getting warmed up, we had to stop for a half an hour of speeches.
Following the speeches Nachum introduced “The Juggling Pianist”, a man named Wally Eastwood. This was to put it best, strange. At times it was funny, the crowd seemed to enjoy it, but it gave the show a Circus feel.
I think it’s funny that they are worried about singers like Chaim Dovid and Eitan katz not being up to the high classy standards of HASC and then they bring a guy out who juggles ping pong balls out of his mouth. Where was I? At a flea market show? Here is a clip of him doing his thing, warning inappropriate joke at the beginning of the clip.
Eitan was the introduced and right away started singing L’maancha. I felt that for some reason the music from the Orchestra was lacking. In what should have been a home run song but it fell a bit flat. I love L’Maancha, and I credit that song with me discovering Eitan and then Shlomo. Eitan sang it beautifully, but the Orchestra was a bit low. I don’t think Lamm got the song, or maybe the didn’t rehearse enough.
Eitan then sang another song, since last night I was informed that it was in fact a new song, a new niggun which he debuted at HASC. It was very good, and like Shlomo, his second strong was stronger. Steve Bill once again rocked the place and Eitan seemed like he was more into it. It looked like the crowd enjoyed it and then when it was done Eitan left the stage.
Country Yossi Video
Following Eitan was a video clip by Country Yossi. The clip featured Country Yossi walking up and down 13th Avenue in Boro Park asking random people if they knew who “The Four Tenors” were. It was funny at times, but if this was supposed to be there in place of a Lipa video it was awful. Why didn’t they just do a music video with Fried or Helfgot? Why not do a video with Shloime Gertner or someone else even? It was unimaginative, uninspired and typical cheesy Country Yossi.
Nachum then introduced Ohad who came out from the back of the audience to a very loud applause. He was announced as another surprise and came on stage and then sang Stop from his second album. I don’t know why he sang that song, as it was his only song by himself. What a waste of a song. He then left the stage and Nachum introduced Dudu Fisher.
At first it seemed the crowd didn’t know what to expect, but anyone who has been to a Dudu Fisher show knows Dudu is awesome. As expected Dudu was amazing and it seemed the crowd was going wild for it. The only complaint I have is that again, it was only one song. If you are going to bring in Dudu Fisher shouldn’t he do more then one song by himself? He did his well known Cantors auditioning for a job at the local shul bit.
After Dudu left the show there was another segment from that Country Yossi Oscar worthy video documentary. Just when you think it couldn’t have got any classier Country went on for almost ten minutes asking people if they think he should be the “Pigeon Czar” who makes sure the pigeons don’t – well, whatever, you get the point. Professionalism at it’s best, a real high quality, classy video. What you know you can always expect from the king of Cholent flatulence humor.
Finally Fried was introduced, he started off his set singing an amazing rendition of No Jew Will Be Left Behind. Then he sang a few songs from Bein Kach. He sang Yehi Ratzon and Lo Yovo. Then he did some sort of Jazz set. He sang Bein Kach, Ani Maamin, Hisyatzivu and Adom Dayog. It was different from his usual show and I liked it. You could tell that Fried wasn’t as on his game as last year though. Maybe because it was a new show for him and it wasn’t perfected. I think once he dusts it off it’ll be much better.
Then he sang Ritzei with The Shira Choir, and it was also very good. Ritzei is another new addition to his usual rotation of live songs. It’s a great classic Fried song. Then he did Didah Bei and finished with Harachaman also from Bein Kach. His set went by very quickly, he was fast, rocking, and sounded amazing. Overall I liked the new songs, and Avremel really is at the top of his game. He told some very nice stories and interacted with crowd.
My only complaint is that he (and others as well) should not engage with the people screaming things onto the stage. I wish they would throw people out of the hall for screaming down at the stage. It’s completely disgusting and it ruins the show for many people.
Fried then introduced Cantor Yitzchok Meir Helfgot as “The Voice of Our Generation” and they sang another duet. This time it was a more Helfgot style song, Mimkomcha. (Anyone know where that was from?)
At that point it seemed no one knew what was going on. First Fried walked off the stage, then came back out, then looked around and called out to the backstage “are we doing this?” Where is the direction? Who was in charge and why wasn’t Nachum Segal announcing what was happening next? It was very unprofessional. Finally Fried called out Dudu Fisher and Ohad and Helfgot and it became obvious that they would be “The Four Tenors.”
It was really very interesting. Just as far as the visual of these four singers, vocal giants, on one stage. I was really wondering how this would work out musically. The four of them sang Moriah (Lama) and then Yehi Razton (Cantorial.) The second song was much nicer, especially at the end when each singer did a chazanishe solo. This is the classic Sheyibane Beis Hamikdash, Bimheira V’yaminu, Vsain Kelkeinu V’soirasecha chazanishe piece. If you take it for what it was, it was brilliant. Something bold and new and really a daring thing to pull off. There were problems though. I hate to be picky because I really did enjoy it. But it was very obvious that Ohad did not belong there. Ohad was almost non existent next to Dudu and Helfgot. Fried seemed to be keeping up but again, he isn’t a cantor like Dudu and Helfgot.
I wonder if they should have only done one song together and then let Dudu and Helfgot do a duet. Either way it was really nice and not something you get to see every day. It was very cool.
Then they left the stage and Fried came back out to sing “You’re Never Alone” to the annual camp hasc video. It was a perfect song fro that video, touching and really emotional.
The finale brought all the singers back on stage and they sang Niggun Nevo which then transitioned into Fried’s Yerushalayim Shel Oirah.
It was a nice show. It had its low points and its high points. I think overall it was pretty good, but I enjoyed last years a little more. One thing I think is certain HASC needs a very fresh show next year. It needs new singers, young guys, the new generation. Shloime Gertner, Baruch Levine, Dovid Gabay, Yitzy Spinner, Shloime Daskal, a fresh video, something made well. Maybe bring back some classics like The Miami Boys Choir, they haven’t done it in a while. But please, no Shwekey, or Fried or Ohad or Yeshiva Boys Choir. It needs something that they haven’t done in a while and/or new singers.