Tel Aviv, Israel.
It shouldn’t have worked.
A last-minute venue change the day before the gig to a theatre situated in a movie cinema complex absolutely dressed up like a theme park, complete with life-size characters from the blockbusters of the last 40 years; an unfamiliar format for the evening that included an onstage interview with a prominent broadcaster, followed by a 45-minute set of a Night of Grief and Mystery— a window, open then shut; language barriers; jet lag; and the usual challenges that attend any live event production. Plus, we haven’t been on stage together in 7 months, so it was just a fist bump then “Go!”
It shouldn’t have worked, but it did.
My own understanding of what this thing is that I do with Jenkinson travels along a sine wave: I know what it is, then I don’t know what it is. I’m currently in the “I don’t know” phase. Strangely, it has a calming effect backstage. Fewer expectations, maybe. With room for only one song in the shortened set, we choose a brand new one I’ve never sung all the way through let alone in front of anyone. We decide to forgo a translator or have translated lyrics and text projected beside us, and so there is a gnawing, low-grade worry of not being understood—kind of like, “Is this mic on…?”
Afterwards: private, intimate, mostly silent exchanges with some who have stayed on; gestures in place of words, usually a hand to the heart; long moments of locking eyes; tender hand clasping, the kind that linger softly.
These things are enough for me to know it worked, whatever “it” is. Something worked. And that’s plenty enough to get me to the next gig in Tel Aviv in a few days’ time.