Sunday, January 11, 2009

Soul II Soul 5769: Lipa in Lubavitch

Lipa Schmeltzer is out of his mind. He also happens to be absolutely incredible. I know that others will have better reviews than me, and I won't remember everything that happened, and you'll all probably point that out to me, but it seems a pity to blog about anything else at this point.

I had a great seat, AA 116 in the balcony, and aside from the excited guy behind me (BB 116) who kicked the chair whenever Lipa sang (which was quite often, believe it or not), my physical location was fine. And now would be the appropriate time to mention LdT, who sponsored my seat, and who greatly enjoyed the show as well. Thanks!

The concert was called for 8:15 sharp, and I was impressed that it began around 8:30. The Shira Choir came out dressed in shtreimalech and bekeshehs, and started to sing a traditional hamavdil. In general, I was very impressed with them; it's the first time I've ever been to a concert with a choir doing backup, and they really add a lot to the whole experience. Lipa joined in about a minute into the song, dressed in a gorgeous blue bekesheh and thick white glasses. His dance moves are to die for, if only because he's so ADHD. It's hard to describe, but Avraham Fried he ain't. It's the type of dancing that people get away with at a wedding for, oh, maybe two minutes before they collapse and run for some ginger ale. He did it for two hours. Incredible.

Next on the lineup card was Shelo Asani Goy, which didn't really feature any Lubavitch-specific lyrics, which surprised me. Sure, it ended off with "I'm so proud to be a Lubavitcher", but other than that? He sang it really well of course, and the crowd was really into it, but... OK, I don't mean to criticize, just to point out.

All right, here's where my memory starts to desert me a little. Why didn't I take notes during the show? What kind of reporter am I? Whatever. Was the next song "Torah Shebiksav, Torah Shebaal Peh"? I think it was. This one got a lot more Lubavitch-centric, with references to Tanya, Likkutei Sichos, and the Rambam. Since when did the Rambam become a Lubavitch Sefer? I guess it was tainted by association. Or elevated. So yeah, another great song. Honestly, I don't think there were any not good songs tonight.

Hmm...thinking cap on. What next? Was it Gelt? The classic Lipa song. 'Nuff said.

See, I told you other people would write better reviews.

Oh, of course, Arba Midos! Was this before or after Gelt? I don't recall. He sang it without the fake sephardi twang, enunciated well, and added the word "Lubavitch" in strategic places. The song segued into Mi Sheamar Dy, which was sung without too much innovation. Again, you have to remember, Lipa is strutting around on stage the whole time like a peacock, with this gorgeous blue bekesheh, pulling off ridiculous moves with aplomb, and generally bringing down the house. Next up in this little set, I think, was Oif Simches' "Yevani". And of course Lubavitch got a nice little inclusion to. Isn't it amazing that someone can pander obsequiously for two hours and people will just lap it up? BTW, Lipa sang this song, the Yiddish part at least, a lot better than Yishai Lapidot ever did. I guess that's the difference between being an Israeli and being Skver.

The question is, when I realize that I missed a song which should go about three paragraphs above this one, should I edit this and make it all professional, or just be lazy and not do that? Lipa sang Hashiveini. A gorgeous song. Even more gorgeous than the blue Bekesheh, which he shed at some point to reveal a cute gray vest. This song is so great, Rabbi Mottel Friedman has it as his ringtone. And he uses it as an excuse to not pick up the phone. Lipa tonight sang it starting in English, and then moving into Hebrew, no Yiddish whatsoever. It was like he was having a (very exaggerated) personal conversation with Hashem, complete with lolling all over a stool.

They then showed a video that Lipa made about a month ago, which featured him taking lessons in being a Lubavitcher from Mendy Pellin and then practicing on the streets of Crown Heights. Very cute video. You want a full report? Go somewhere else. It's 4:00 in the morning. There's no full reports coming from here.

In fact, it's now well past the time when I can intelligently comment on the concert. Suffice it to say that when we were leaving LdT turned to me and said, "So you want to go to the MSQ concert with Lipa?" Because this concert rocked. He sang a brand new composition, a letter to Moshe Holtzberg. He sang Binyan Adi Ad, but instead of talking about chassanim and kallahs he waxed lyrical regarding the Aibeshter coming down to greet his one and only Kallah, the Jewish people, plus he threw in several minutes of great rap. There was Tizkeh L'Mitzvos, Halleli, Yoshvei Eretz Yisrael for Gaza and Wakeup and all, and the Shira Choir had some great duets with him and Lubavitch niggunim. Shalom Aleichem a Yid, the Russian Tzama Lecha, Teire Bridde. And how can I forget Heibt Deine Hantelech, which featured brief segues into "L-rd get me high" and that rap song which starts off "Ma Ma Ma" on the next Projext X. Yeah, he's crazy good.
And I'm crazy out of it.


Nemo said...

He likes pandering alright ... but funnily enough, Lubavitchers buy that kind of show ...

A few years ago I went to the Yud Aleph Nissan "Mifgan Anak" in some arena in Tel Aviv, where our messianic counterparts were demonstrating their readiness for the long await Utopian age of redemption. To celebrate the forthcoming deliverance, they presented three mainstream Charedi singers: MBD, YM Helfgot and Lipa Shmeltzer.

The first two singers were diplomatic silent in their protestations to the coronation chants for fear of losing their promised remuneration. However, Lipa not only chanted along with the crowd, but placed a messianic diadem upon his head, composed a new melody to fit the words of the chant, waved the yellow banner and regaled the crowd with a story about his visit to their messiah's Brooklyn residence.

The people left the arena charged with vim and vigor to spread the word of the living messiah, convinced the Lipa - who ostensibly is not one of "them" - had shown his true beliefs that night, further affirming the truth of their unretiring leader's messiahship.

Just like a guy said...

This is why you should love lipa: he has no qualms about doing what it takes to get the crowd to love him.

Nemo said...

Gotta love people without integrity!

EndOfWorld said...

Nice exploitation of other people's reviews. I followed a link you left and found myself here. Hello!

Just like a guy said...

Nemo: It's not a matter of integrity, it's one of paying the bills.
End of World: I wish I could take credit, but in fact I left no links in comments on any other site. I promise. Who was kind enough to post those I don't know.

le7 said...

Sounds like a rocking time. (Thanks for rubbing it in).

Anonymous said...

The Rambam is a Lubavitch sefer because he has chochmah binah and daas (in the purely niglah sense). These are all assur gamur in the yishivishe velt.

Just like a guy said...

COL (Chuckle out loud).

Of course, I do recall hearing from a snag friend of mine who heard a R"M in yeshiva refuse to listen to a student's question from the Rambam because it was a "Lubavitch Sefer".

At the same time, I was once staying by a Sephardi house, and he said something about Ashkenazim not giving any respect to Sephardim, even the great ones like the Rambam. I said, "What do you mean, we Lubavitchers learn it every day!" He said, "You learn it, we follow it." of course, this was also the guy who owned David Berger's book, so...

Cheerio said...

sounds like you had a good time... i just don't get the whole lipa thing. in general, i don't enjoy music in languages i completely don't understand. (i'm such a snob.)

Just like a guy said...

Yeah, you are. Anyone who doesn't acknowledge the greatness of Lipa should be shot, or at the very least sent to a reeducation camp.