Netta Barzilai at Hangar 11, Tel Aviv

Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai's first Israel concert leaves much to be desired

Israeli pop star finally performs on home turf after years of touring Europe, America and Asia following her 2018 win in prestigious singing competition; unfortunately, Barzilai did not live up to expectations during her show in Tel Aviv

Michaela Hazani |
Published: 02.20.22, 20:57
Since her famous Eurovision victory in 2018, Neta Barzilai has toured all over the world, from Europe to America and even Asia, but her first-ever performance in Israel on Saturday failed to live up to the high expectations.
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  • Despite her prominence in Israeli music culture, releasing hit singles and serving as a judge on The X-Factor, the singer has never performed in Israel as her latest show was put off several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears not even the glamour of international fame has prepared her for the show at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
    Barzilai during her first show in Tel Aviv
    (Video: Nadav Abbas)
    Barzilai's opening act, up-and-coming singer Nunu warmed up the stage. Despite her provocative and colorful style, which perfectly aligns with Barzilai's persona, Nunu is still quite a niche artist, and the audience was unenthusiastic. It didn't help that the performance was poorly lit and had several cringe-worthy sound mishaps, so severe that the crowd was urged to cover their ears.
    At around 10pm, the epic intro off of her hit single CEO and a dramatic drumroll came over the speakers as Barzilai came up on stage singing her song Nana Banana.
    Barzilai was charged with energy, and after three songs conversed with the crowd: "Hello everyone, mistake number one, wearing a footer," she said, referring to her bedazzled sweatshirt while gasping for air. "It's really nice to meet you, this really is something I've never done in Israel, sold tickets and saw for myself who wants to come and listen to me. I'm really excited, this is a huge journey for me," she said to the sound of the crowd cheering.
    3 View gallery
    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    Netta Barzilai at Hangar 11, Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Raz Gross)
    Expectations were high, the energy was loaded, the stage sparkled, but something was still missing. Barzilai's audience knows her for her iconic artistic music videos, with talented dancers and hypnotizing choreography. Thus, they expected a raging, juicy performance, but Barzilai didn't come through. There were no dancers, the video art was scant and didn't resemble her creative music videos, leaving the stage with nothing but full of wasted potential.
    Even her special guest, Israeli rapper and singer Tuna, came on stage for a half-hearted performance of Zero Effort [originally sung by Barzilai and pop duo Static & Ben El] and Sahara from his new album.
    The motif of the performance seems to be the absence of a unifying theme. The opener, special guest, bold apparel, and choices of musical nuances seemed to be random and removed.
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    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    Netta Barzilai at Hangar 11, Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Raz Gross)
    The second half of the show came just in time as Barzilai reminded us of her spectacular talent with the looper.
    "A looper is a tool that is like a toxic ex, either you want to go back to him or you don't want to see him for two years," she said before she went on to play a mash-up of her songs. Her voice and the looper took the front seat, and the crowd was swept away as everyone recalled why they fell in love with the pop artist in the first place. Her talent and capabilities as an original artist reminded the audience of what she is all about.
    She kept the crowd's spirits high with her hit song Toy, which helped her clinch the Eurovision. The hit brings back nostalgia of a euphoric time for Israelis, and had the listeners on their feet. She wrapped up the show with a grandiose performance of CEO and Basa, Sababa which had the crowd walking out with a smile on their face.
    3 View gallery
    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    נטע ברזילי בהופעה בהאנגר 11
    Netta Barzilai at Hangar 11, Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Raz Gross)
    Barzilai came with a lot of passion and desire to create an unforgettable performance, but unfortunately, forgot a concept at home, leaving the crowd mostly with a headache.
    The outfits didn't match the vibe, the graphic language wasn't consistent, background singers were lacking, as well as dancers and choreography. It was unclear whether the crowd arrived at a carnival, a pop show, or an electronic jam session. What was the bottom line? What taste did Barzilai want her listeners to leave with? It seems that even she herself wasn't quite sure.
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