Matti Caspi - Live in Arad (NMC 1997)
After a four-year absence from Israel Caspi returned in 1997. His first concert after his arrival is documented in a pair of CDs that were recorded during the Arad Festival. The emotional concert which was broadcasted on Galatz simultaneously, marked the renewal of Caspi’s deep relationship with the Israeli crowd. Those who were lucky to be present at the concert strongly felt the crowd’s excitement (Matti’s intro for the song “A Sad City”, a song that may have been forgotten, was encountered by the crowd’s reaction: “We haven’t forgotten anything”!) and Matti’s excitement: “I love the first concerts, recording everything in their first natural form, because then it always has something that makes it fresh and interesting… in this concert I was struck with excitement, both on mine and the crowd’s part. I’ve never felt this way. My entire body was shaking, knees, elbows, everything… that’s a feeling I’ll never forget. Usually there’s a natural excitement before any show, but this time it was joined by sweat and shivering… with my return, a pleasant reality struck me. The lyrics suddenly had a double meaning”.
Despite his excitement, Caspi didn’t show any signs of the time he spent abroad. All the songs were performed strongly and accurately. The concert in Arad opened the door to a tour in Israel’s biggest halls, which was undoubtedly one of the most touching and successful in Caspi’s long career. The concerts were especially long and included many of Caspi’s hits from all times - from early songs like “And You” and “How Come a Star”, to new songs which were played for the first time on stage. these songs, which were not included in the album, appeared later in the studio album Matti recorded a year later: “Another World”. Among the rest, the song “Not All Those Who Write Poems are Poets” was granted a most impressive performance. The instrumental opening piece played by the musicians before Caspi entered the stage, is actually the music from “With Sadness” written by Raquel Caspi for Riki Gal’s album “Loving You More”.
Among the notable songs from the concert and the album, are: “Everlasting Alliance” (which was performed as an encore), “Day by Day I Go to your House”, “West from Here”, and “A Sad City” - songs which are not usually part of Caspi’s repertoire in his concerts. One of the highlights of the concert was the special performance of “She Converted”, which has since become one of Caspi’s identifying mark in his concerts: Caspi sang the last line of the song in a capella style, with exceptional power and honesty.
Another piece performed in the tour but not included in the concert album is “Prelude” (The Peace), which Caspi used in order to present his musicians on stage. About eight years later, following the audience’s request, Caspi recorded the successful song in his album “You Are My Woman”.
The concerts included ten musicians apart from Caspi, and four backing singers. It seemed as if the production team had intentionally selected Israel’s best musicians: among the rest, those who played with Caspi on stage were Jean Paul Zimbris on the drums, Haim Romano and Yair Michaelli on the guitars, Rammy Levin and Doron Picker on the keyboards, and Gady Serri on percussion. The abundance of musicians and their high quality had allowed Caspi to grant the songs rich and warm versions, which suit his compositions perfectly.
The concert in Arad signals a suitable mid-summary of Caspi’s work. The songs, arrangements, and musical production all deviate from their position as a documentation of a live concert. It’s undoubtedly a collector’s album with rare qualities as much a live concert album can have.