I had no desire to see Shalom Hanoch in concert. I had never even heard of the guy.
But my co-worker, an Israeli ex-pat who was a young woman during Hanoch’s heydey, insisted that I come with her to his Saturday night, March 8 concert at the Avalon in Hollywood. She wanted to educate me on Israeli music, and Hanoch - being one of the greatest Israeli rock musicians in the country’s young history - would be a terrific start.
Beseder, I said. I’ll come.
So I went. But my coworker did not (for family reasons).
And, surprisingly, I had a great time!
Despite not knowing any of Hanoch’s songs and being one of the few concert goers under the age of 40, I really enjoyed the show.
Hanoch’s raspy, seductive voice was full of emotion during the quiet ballads and bursting with energy during the raucous rock songs. He was charismatic and a pleasure to watch, and he interacted with the crowd in a playful, genuinely interested manner. Their adoration was palpable: they swayed to his love songs, knew every lyric to every song, shouted requests, danced wildly and roared for an encore performance.
The warm vibe enveloped me and I felt like I belonged, on the one hand, and a complete outsider on the other.
Walking past the merchandise-selling booth in the lobby on my way out, I paused to consider buying Hanoch’s CD.
Nah, I thought. He’s a little too rock for me. I walked away, humming one of his softer tunes.
At least now I know who Shalom Hanoch is.
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