Push those tables to the side, hop on a chair, and dance the night away: that was the mantra at B.B. King’s when Israeli pop legend Kobi Peretz graced the stage. His electric energy, spiced up with a perfect dose of velvety soul, charged the room with a grooving momentum for the ages. Accompanied by two back-up singers and an expansive band – featuring a scope of instruments from violin to the darbuka – Peretz soared to vibrant heights, both in vocal power and irresistible charm.
An atmosphere of bottled anticipation permeated the club before the star even walked on stage. But as soon as he did, the packed house erupted into a firestorm of clapping, whistling, and sheer enthusiasm. Once the band delved into its deeply Mediterranean sound, Peretz’ powerful voice rose to the forefront of all the noise, reaching the highest and lowest of pitches with passionate grace.
From first line to final refrains, the piercing opener “Kama Ahava (How Much Love)” dripped with lovelorn emotion through and through, shifting the venue’s crackling mood into simmering introspection. Swaying hands and even tears sprang from the sea of tables as Peretz’ sultry voice called to the heartstrings. But his uniquely virtuosic stage presence soon triumphed over the bittersweet tide, as he kneeled to serenade the first few rows, much to the crowd’s audible delight. “Ulay Ta Voy Elai (Maybe You’ll Come To Me)” intensified the candlelit vibe into majestic resonance, reaching a body-encompassing apex by way of fiery electric guitar and heavy-hearted violin streams. The slow piece dispersed through the air as would a bowl of stew, rich with the power of aural textures and flavors – but never too heavy on the shoulders.
Yet amid raised hands, tears, and aural stew, where does the “tables aside, dance all night” mantra come into action? With a couple of blows on his air-horn after the two opening songs, Peretz sparked the festivities, emphatically encouraging all to get up and move. And as soon as Peretz and his band broke into the all-time hit “Balbeli Oto (Confuse Him)”, the evening rose to powerhouse overdrive spiked with a hint of pop-glamour. That glorious spirit coursed through the veins of every song to come thereafter, from “Cholem Alaich (Dreaming About You)” to “Meshuga Alaich (Crazy About You)”. Peretz carried the room to energetic flight, soaring, dipping, and propelling forward without ever pausing to land.