Burt Bacharach 370.
(photo credit: Yoav Vax)
Burt Bacharach’s is not an art couched in the real world. Bacharach is one of
those artists who embrace the idea that deception is one of the key ingredients
of all great art, and perhaps also a necessary prerequisite of the
In Binyamina on Tuesday evening, the 84-yearold
singer/songwriter treated a mostly middle aged Israeli audience to his vision of
love – a beautiful lie – love like in fairy tales, as an idea, as it “should” be
in a perfect world.
My girlfriend wondered aloud how many of the couples
in the crowd were on the verge of divorce.
After all, they came to the
show – from the real world – for a taste of the Bacharach magic.
quite simple in this magical world: When you have it, everything is great and
when it ends, well, it’s just a “crazy game that ends in tears,” as per the
song, “A house is not a home.”
And of course, in order to work, the
deception must be beautifully served.
The show Bacharach presents on his
current 11- date tour is as finely constructed and paced as only a show by a
performer with more than 50 years of on-stage experience can be. For young bands
or budding musicians, it was a textbook example of how to construct a
The members of the band are all flawless musicians.
only disappointment was that instead of a full string section there was a
synthesizer, topped by a single violinist, who was probably there just to round
out the sound and give it warmth.
The singers ranged from very good to
And finally there was this special effect, when Bacharach
played solo piano and sang the beginning of a song with what’s left of his vocal
chords (not much), and then cued the rest of the band to fill in the texture and
let his three singers take over. Twice it was used, and twice it nearly brought
tears to my eyes.
Bacharach played a few new songs; most of the show was
comprised of a parade of his hits, some played in medleys, some given a complete
What this means is that even if you came to the concert
without ever having heard the name Burt Bacharach in your life, you probably
know at least 10 of his songs without being aware that they’re his.
between numbers, Bacharach, in sneakers and a white tuxedo jacket, recounted his
first visit to Israel in 1960 when he was accompanying Marlene Dietrich, and
other stories from his rich career. Like the rest of the show, these interludes
were entertaining, anecdotal and most importantly just long enough to lighten up
the transition from song to song without outstaying their
Bacharach’s melodies are always infectious, his harmonies lush
and his arrangements imaginative.
You could hear many humming along
during the show, mostly with eyes closed and a dumb smile on their
And they were humming accurately, even though from a musical point
of view the songs are rarely simple, with frequent changes of meter, unusual
harmonic shifts and surprising detours in the melodic phrases.
interview conducted by Channel 2 on Sunday ahead of the show, Bacharach said
that when he composes the melodies are often born in his head complete with the
arrangements. This is not surprising considering his utter mastery as an
orchestrator and the very tight connection in his music between pitch, contour
On the long ride home I slowly came back to reality,
remembering that love and life, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, are never pure and
It is nice to know that sorcerers like Bacharach really
exist: surrender to their illusion and in return they’ll grant you a few magic