By Jacob Friedman (Mini Z)
On Tuesday Night, August 16th I finally found out why Yeshiva of South Shore’s Concert on the Lawn series is the most eagerly anticipated musical event in the Five Towns. That’s not to say that people amongst the crowd came from all over the tri-state area (myself included) to celebrate eight years of this wonderful event. This year’s event took place in Lawrence, NY and was hosted by Ari and Chaya Cohen whose gorgeous backyard provided an awesome setting for both an amazing BBQ buffet and an even more amazing concert on a beautiful summer night.
As always, the Shloime Dachs Orchestra was in top form with musicians like Gal Gershovsky on drums and Avremi G on keyboard. Shloime opened the show with his classic Yerav and from there segued into a touching story which led to Eitan Katz’s Lemaancha .
Next, Benny Friedman came on and started his set with the title track of his debut album, Taamu followed by the opener from his extremely popular wedding album Nagila V’Nismicha, Sameach and No Lyrics. Typical for a Benny show, the crowd sang along as each number was followed by huge applause.
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, Rosh Yeshiva of South Shore then took the stage to speak about the needs of the Yeshiva and remind everyone of the real reason why we were all there. After that, Benny returned to get the party started once again singing Chazak! Benny’s performance was upbeat, smooth and very pleasurable to listen to exactly how it should be. It didn’t take long to understand why Benny is truly “the voice of the future” and on a personal note, a true mentsch. His next number, One Day started off slow but after just a bit picked up tempo and style to give it a more defined rock feel version (like heard on the wedding album). Not just any performer can do justice to Matisyahu’s hit song but Benny is clearly not just any performer.
Benny then prefaced his next song by sharing his experience at Mumbai during the year of the tragic terror attack. When visiting the Holzberg’s home, he noticed some of their talmidim singing Lo Lefached in Hindi. It left such an impression on him that he decided to learn it in Hindi and sang it to the crowd at this event. From there Benny covered Abie Rotenberg’s Small Piece of Heaven and Yaakov Shwekey’s Vehi Sheomda with heart and soul which really elevated these two songs to a whole new level.
Benny Friedman ended his set with Moshiach also off his debut album and of course, Ya’alili. Despite being
relatively new to the JM scence, this sensational artist leaves you wanting more! Speaking of wanting more
Shloime Dachs fans got their wish when he returned to sing two of his classics; Hamalach and K’ish Echod .
The night ended in a grand finale with a Shloime and Benny duet performing Yerushalayim . Iy”h next year we will all be in Yerushalayim at “Concert on the Kotel”!
Below are photos & video by Mini Z