Gal de Paz is a powerful performer with a fiery spirit, and her performance at the Piano Festival was incandescent, lighting up the night with song. Anyone who has heard her perform with The Paz Band, or Lucille Crew, knows that she burns up the stage with her vibrant energy, and her voice is pure soul. Boldly venturing beyond her comfort zone, Gal de Paz stepped out onto the stage in the Israeli Galleries at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, looking dangerous and elegant in a black leather dress, presenting an evening of her songs with Yuval Brusilovsky (The Paz Band) playing the piano. Gone were the electric guitars, bass, and drums, and in their stead were piano arrangements that distilled the essence of the songs, highlighting de Paz’s talents as a songwriter.
Opening the evening with Down the Rabbit Hole (the title track from her 2016 album) her voice danced with the piano in a duet with a Gospel sensibility. As she moved on to Better (from the album Goldie, 2013), people in the audience sang along softly. Gal de Paz has a voice that shines like a beacon in the darkness, with a sweetness, clarity, and raw power that shouts out with heart-shattering force.
There was a bluesy, cabaret feel to the evening, and a lively, playful rapport with Brusilovsky at the piano. Her songs reflect an introspective spirit, with the courage to be vulnerable, and Gal de Paz really put herself out there in this concert, not only performing new material, but putting herself in the hot seat at the piano. Following the lovely Narcotic Heart, she accompanied herself on Sun and Moon, with Brusilovsky lending a hand or two. Them All is another new one, a song about love with a delicate feel.
Old Bag of Sand was also new offering, performed for the first time in concert – a beautiful bluesy song that has the feel of a classic, with its wistful wishes: “I want to find peace before I get older.” There was great enthusiasm for the new songs – Don’t Step Over Me – as well as favorites – Freak It and My Misery (Goldie). Gal went back to the piano for what she called the “naked” version of Something, a song she has performed with Lucille Crew as well as The Paz Band. But just a few phrases in, she stopped, and with endearing simplicity told the audience that she forgot something she had intended to do: ask the audience to sing with her. So, she taught us the phrase “love is never far,” told us to wait for her cue, and then took the song from the top. It was beautiful. As was the next song, The Silence of the City, quiet, lyric, and poignant.
Gal de Paz is a performer who gives her all every time she takes the stage, and this concert was wholeheartedly dedicated to the piano; the beauty of the instrument and her connection to the piano resonating through every song. A night to remember.