It was the moment Israeli rock fans had waited for all year.
In true rock and roll style, Tel Aviv alternative metal band Walkways bombed the stage Sunday night with the guitar-heavy “Humane Beings” of its album “Bleed Out, Heal Out.”
“I want to see you all!” shouted lead singer Ran Yerushalmi, to the packed Barby venue audience ahead of one of the first live rock shows as Israel emerges from COVID-19.
With daily coronavirus cases near zero, Israel recently removed most restrictions, including the earlier requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for entry into concerts. Audience members were supposed to wear masks, but most did not.
The show was the first of many performances planned for the summer, reviving the local music scene. While local bands are beginning to tour, international outfits are still not scheduling concert dates.
“I was pretty devastated that the Red Hot Chili Peppers canceled, but I think Israel’s really lucky compared to other countries as we are almost back to normal,” said Efrat, a Walkways fan.
The band’s “Half The Man I Am” was received with a rapturous applause as fans stage-dived and crowd-surfed, and “Till The End” complimented Yerushalmi’s vocals.
The band completed a flawless set list of 16 songs, but it was the energy of the crowd that created the scene at the iconic music venue, as the fans moshed and sang with elation.
Dressed head to toe in black, the five-man band consists of Yerushalmi, guitarists Bar Caspi and Yoni Menner, bassist Avihai Levy and drummer Priel Horesh.
“Tel Aviv is our home crowd and they know you,” said Yerushalmi. “When you play abroad people are getting to know you, but here, we are home.”
Walkways was supposed to perform three weeks ago, but the recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza forced a reschedule.
As the band finished the performance with its hit “Despair,” the crowd went wild.
“Tonight feels like all the emotions of a year have been let out,” said fan Eylon Maron.