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Jerusalem Woodstock Revival
While there wasn't any nudity, mud or flagrant drug use, the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival succeeded beyond all expectations in channeling the good vibes of yesteryear.
In a perfectly relaxed, laid-back setting just right for Tu Be'av, with blankets spaciously spread out on the Astroturf, more than 1,000 music lovers of all ages enjoyed over five hours of varied music from the 1960s performed by an engaging assortment of top Israeli musicians and noted cover bands.
Highlights included bluesman Ronnie Peterson and his band performing a scintillating set of Bob Dylan songs, ranging from the plaintive acoustic "With God on My Side" to the sinewy wail of "Highway 61 Revisited." Yood, featuring phenomenal guitarist Lazer Lloyd, would have made Jimi Hendrix smile, with a blistering set of Hendrix covers. Chicago bluesman Mark Rashkow joined the band midset to add some of his panache to songs like "Hey Joe" and "All Along the Watchtower." However, despite an inspired take on "Hatikva" ala Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner," the band went a little over the top at some points with its free-form histrionics and would have fared better sticking to the songs.
The crowd was also treated to pleasing sets by openers Dolly Weinstein, Crosby, Stills and Nash cover band Long Time Gone and Doors tribute group Crystal Ship.
But the musical highlight for many was the show closer: Geva Alon. One of the country's most gifted singer/songwriters, Alon nailed his tribute to Neil Young, managing to both eerily evoke the legend in versions of "Ohio," "Heart of Gold" and "Rockin' in the Free World," but to also infuse his own superlative style into those standards. He ended the night on a truly magical moment.
The crowd, some dressed in full hippie regalia, was a mix of Jerusalem-area middle-aged Anglos and younger, native Israeli music lovers. One attendee said he knew so many people that he felt like he was at a bar mitzva celebration. Adding to the festival atmosphere were the abundance of children running around and freely playing at the stations set up in one corner of the stadium. Even the porta-johns boasted long, Woodstock-length lines - but they were orderly and people were full of good cheer.
Organizer Carmi Wurtman, and AFI heads Steve Leibowitz and Danny Gewirtz, did an outstanding job in presenting the show, with almost no gaps between acts, impeccable sound and even a huge screen running original Woodstock footage throughout the evening.
At the end of the night, Leibovitz announced that the Tu Be'av outdoor concert at Kraft Stadium, which benefited American Football in Israel, would become an annual event. Can't wait for next year.
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