Concert Review: Harel Skaat in New Jersey

Highlights from Harel Skaat’s concert in New Jersey, April 30, 2023

Ever since Harel Skaat burst onto the Israeli music scene on “Kochav Nolad” in 2005, I’ve been a big fan. So I jumped at the chance to see him in a recent appearance in New Jersey on April 30, 2023.

Harel’s concert was hosted by the Israeli-American Council (IAC), as part of their celebration of Israel’s 75th birthday.

I’ve long admired Harel’s vocal abilities. In my opinion, he has one of the best male voices in Israeli pop music today. Listening to his large repertoire on the way to the show, I was excited to hear his impressive vocal range in person. I looked forward to a fun show filled with songs I knew and loved. By and large, Harel delivered just that.

Harel Skaat on stage, April 30, 2023
Harel Skaat on stage, April 30, 2023 (Photo: Josh Shron)

Flanked only by a keyboard player and guitarist, with additional pre-recorded music played throughout, Harel belted out one hit after another. He performed nearly all of the songs I’d hoped to hear:

  • Mashehu Mimeni | משהו ממני
  • Kama Od Efshar | כמה עוד אפשר
  • She’ahava Nafshi | שאהבה נפשי
  • Kol HaTziporim | כל הציפורים
  • V’at | ואת
  • Hineni Kan | הנני כאן (the song I was most excited to hear him sing)
  • B’chayai | בחיי
  • Achshav | עכשו
  • La’uf | לעוף

Harel also included two surprise English songs: “Your Song” by Elton John, and “Make You Feel My Love”, originally by Bob Dylan.

Throughout the show, Harel’s voice and energy levels stayed strong, and it was a pleasure to hear him. However, the concert was extremely short. Harel remained on stage for just about an hour, ending the show after singing “La’uf”. Everyone expected him to return for an encore, but he never did. The house lights went on, and the puzzled audience began to leave the auditorium.

He also made little attempt to establish a rapport with his audience. While many in the crowd sang along with every word, there was very little dialogue between songs. I found that unusual for an Israeli artist hoping to make an impression among American Jews, many of whom may be less familiar with his work.

Harel will return to the USA for four concerts this June, in New York, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, and Long Island. He is a talented singer and definitely fun to watch on stage. But after nearly 20 years in the spotlight, I’d think that he could share a bit more material with his international audiences. I only hope he tweaks the show a bit before his return.

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