It was a week of eagerly anticipated performances for particular music fans, with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart playing Hebrew University’s ampitheater Thursday night, and singer Regina Spektor, a former yeshiva girl, performing to a packed house in the Caesarea ampitheater Saturday night.
Hart’s mere presence in the outdoor Jerusalem ampitheater helped create the typically Dead-like atmosphere for the overwhelmingly tie-dye-wearing crowd, who swayed their way through every song of his three-hour show.
Spektor, who has performed in Israel twice before, is beloved for the ease with which she belts out a quirky mix of pop, jazz and Russian melodies, while playing her grand piano center-stage. And there’s something about her retro look and presence that clicks with the Israeli audience.
The Russian-born Spektor and her family moved to the US in the late 1980s as refugees, and like many Russian immigrants, she attended Orthodox day schools with the assistance of local aid societies. She now has six albums under her belt and her new signature song is “You’ve Got Time,” the theme song of the hit TV show “Orange is the New Black.”
The Caesarea crowd reportedly went crazy for Spektor’s a capella rendition of “Walk to Caesarea,” a haunting poem by World War II parachutist Hannah Szenes, who lived in Kibbutz Sdot Yam, on the shore near Caesarea.
Spektor, who speaks some Hebrew from her day school years, said “todah” to the crowd after each set of applause. On her website, she wrote, “Toda Rabah Israel!!! Thank you so much for such a beautiful night- the last night of the tour!!! Can’t wait to come back and play again!!!”
It was clear that Hart and his band appreciated their adoring crowd as well, and the Grateful Dead veteran drummer ended the show with a message of peace and love.
“The world is burning up and you’re in one of the hot spots,” he said. “Do something with tonight’s energy, and maybe we’ll see you again some time.”