music conductor drawing .
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Vaya Con Dios
After canceling its Friday show in Haifa, Belgian band Vaya Con Dios took the stage in Ra'anana Saturday night with war looming over the country. Whether because of the light pop folk songs on the bill or the fighting up north, the mood was restrained for much of the show.
For the first three-quarters of the concert, lead singer Dani Klein sang to a very reserved audience, with lawn chairs, picnic snacks and gentle swaying reflecting the mood. Even hits like "What's a Woman" and "Don't Cry for Louie" garnered only controlled excitement.
Klein fully understood the situation but tried to energize the audience anyway. Even she was not as animated as might normally be expected, however. (Perhaps she was afraid to be, given the circumstances.) Not helping matters was the boring stage design, with the red, yellow, pink and white lights adding nothing for most of the performance. And there were no large video screens - customary at big concerts - offering close-ups of the band. Those closest to the stage gave the rowdiest applause after every song, while the rest of the amphitheater clapped respectfully.
Klein took the audience around the world, introducing songs with references to the countries that inspired them. Known for mixing pop ballads with Mediterranean, Indian, Spanish, Latin American and gypsy rhythms, Vaya Con Dios displayed excellent musicianship, flowing easily from one musical style to the next. Klein sang mainly in English, but also belted out songs in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
It was when the band performed old favorite "Just a Friend of Mine" that the audience finally started to come out of its slumber. Klein built on the change in spirit, pepping up fans before "Puerto Rico" by asking the audience if it was ready to sing loud enough "so they can hear you up north."
But then, just as audience members started to shed their somber mood and get up to dance to the peppy "Nah Neh Nah," Vaya Con Dios waved goodbye to the crowd. Everyone in attendance was stunned that the concert's main act had finished in under an hour.
The concert hit its peak during the encore, with almost the whole audience on its feet clapping, swaying and dancing to the night's final songs, "Heading for a Fall" and "Time Flies." There were even catcalls for the band to stay just a little bit longer. But Klein and company had done their bit. "We hope to be back very soon," Klein said before stepping off stage. She didn't sound all that convincing.