Tonight with two good friends and my son Matthew, I went to the Matisyahu show in Houston. For those who may not know, Matisyahu is a Hasidic reggae artist. You've probably never heard anything like it. (NEW: Matisyahu interview here.)
It was the first concert I had been to since my freshman year in college, sometime in 1996. In fact, Matisyahu played at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, where I went to my last concert--and if memory serves me correctly I saw Sheryl Crow. (I'm not even a Crow fan, I think I got the tickets for free.)
The set lasted for about an hour, and he was in top form. Matisyahu opened with "Fire of Heaven/Alter of Earth" (the opening track on the Youth CD) , sang "Jerusalem" of course, as well as the prayerful "Close My Eyes" (from Live at Stubbs), among others. He also displayed his customary beatboxing skills, this time linking his vocally percussive expression to a nice piano tune. (For examples, check out this blog.) One hopes to hear more of this on future CDs.
I sat way out on the lawn, and so was away from the energy of the stage. Nevertheless it was a good show.
The biblical scope of Matisyahu's music still resonates deeply; his music possesses the depth of the blues, and the energy and improvisational quality of jazz. Every encounter changes the soul.