(photo credit: Chris Govias)
It takes a singular talent for a singer to perform outdoors in Ra’anana on a
sweaty, muggy evening and make the audience feel as if they were in an air
conditioned club, listening to cool jazz amid the tinkle of ice cubes in a
It also takes a singular talent for the wife of Elvis Costello,
the singer who dissed the country a few months back by refusing to perform here
on ‘political grounds,’ to come and play in such a way that people no longer
wished a pox on the Costello house, simply because she lives in that
Diana Krall has that talent; and she is that wife.
dazzled a few thousand people Wednesday night at the Ra’anana amphitheater with
her virtuoso piano playing and a voice now mellow, then haunting; now strong,
then a whisper.
Her 90-minute performance, a bit too short, was enhanced
mightily by the help of a talented band of musicians – Anthony Wilson (guitar),
Kareem Riggins (drums) and Robert Hurst (bass) – who effortlessly added their
own creative riffs and interpretations to the songs. The drums were soft and
quick, not overly dominating; the bass was playful, not laborious, and the
guitarplaying was smooth and graceful throughout.
Krall set the mellow,
nightclubish tone early on with her rendition of the 1960s bossa nova classic
“Summer Samba” (“So Nice”), alternately singing the words, “Someone to hold me
tight, that would be very nice” in a deep, sultry voice, and then a loud
whisper, that made it sound as if she sincerely meant every word.
makes Krall so good is that she has the ability to take classic songs and make
them better. This was especially true of her rendition of “Walk on By,” the Burt
Bacharach number made famous by Dianne Warwick.
Listening to Krall’s
version, and the slow, haunting way she phrased those words “walk on by,” made
one think, “Dianne who?” This was the way that song was meant to be
Ditto with her version of Bacharach’s “Look of Love,” creatively
interwoven with strains of yet another Bacharach hit, “What the world needs now
There was a goodhumored, playful quality to the music
throughout the night, some songs interspersed with themes from others. For
example, snatches from the Beatles “Come together” showed up at the end of the
Tom Waits number “Clap hands.” And, most engagingly for an Israel audience,
strains of “Hava Nagila” were sprinkled into another Tom Waits song: “Jockey
full of Bourbon.”
The brief sound of “Hava Nagila,” however, was the
first of only two brief signs of recognition by Krall – who unfortunately failed
to establish a rapport with the audience – that she was in Israel.
me provincial, but I would have been bowled over had she stepped on stage in
that black, sleeveless dress of hers and mangled some innocuous Hebrew phrase,
or said, “Hello Israel,” or something at all to acknowledge that she was playing
here, in Israel, and not in Belgrade, or Bucharest, or Beirut, where she was the
Albeit in Ra’anana, at the very end of the set Krall said
“Thank you Tel Aviv.” But that’s okay, Ra’anana and Tel Aviv are pretty close.
Krall knew very well where she was, evident in the fact she did not make any
mention – as she often does in her concerts – to her husband Costello. Such a
mention, she surly realized, would only have put a damper for many on an
otherwise very pleasant evening.