I took my wife and daughters to the Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv yesterday. A few notes and comments:
- From the incredibly apt opening song “Start Me Up” through the closer “Satisfaction”, I was blown away by the show these guys put on. Truly inspirational.
- It was hot. REAL hot. Africa hot. It was 40 degrees celsius at 6pm, no breeze whatsoever, and it dipped down to about 35 degrees towards the end of the concert. We were on our feet for about 4 hours straight…. but it was all absolutely worth it.
- Mick’s incorporation of Hebrew into his audience banter was the most impressive I have ever encountered. Usually most bands drop an “Erev Tov Tel Aviv” in, but Mick was gabbling away in Hebrew the whole night. I suspect that he was being fed lines into his earpiece, but it was still an incredibly appreciated gesture.
- On the same subject: Mick at one stage said “Toda…. shukran” (thanks in Hebrew and Arabic) and a little later Keith said “Shalom…. salaam” (peace in Hebrew and Arabic). I assume this was a small gesture to placate the leftist douche bags that were upset at the Stones playing in Israel. Other than that there were no political statements of any kind, which was much appreciated.
- The sound at the concert was amongst the best I have ever heard at such a large outdoor concert. Superb!
- I estimate the average age was about my age – i.e. around 45. Lots of 20 somethings, lots of 40 somethings, and lots of 60 somethings.
- Highlight of the evening (other than Mick asking Ronnie Wood “kanita na’alayim ba’shuk?” – did you buy shoes in the market?) was Mick Taylor joining the band on stage for an INCREDIBLE rendition of Midnight Rambler.
- My favorite Stones period is Let It Bleed through Exile on Main Street (which is exactly the Mick Taylor period) and we were treated to a bunch of songs from that era – Honkey Tonk Women, Midnight Rambler, You Got The Silver (Keef!), Gimme Shelter (another highlight) You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Brown Sugar, Tumbling Dice. I was in fanboy heaven!
- A lot of (ignorant) people made (and still make) comments about seeing a bunch of septuagenarians making fools of themselves denying the inevitable fact that Rock and Roll is for the young’uns and they should have given it up years ago. The first time I saw the Rolling Stones in concert was 20 years ago – and people were making the same comments back then. But here’s the thing: They’re better now than they were then. They’re in AMAZING shape for their age, they are athletic and fun to watch, they sounded FANTASTIC and the whole concert was a joy from start to finish. Its hard to imagine 70 year old people playing that kind of music because most 70 year olds are old. These guys don’t act old. They act like professionals who know exactly what kind of a show their fans want. And they deliver. They may have had a more raw sound back in the 70s, but now they play every song more or less like it sounds on the album. This is precisely what you want from a band with almost as many recognisable classic rock hits as the Beatles. Tightly produced familiar songs.
- On a personal note: Its hard for me to express how much fun it is to go to a concert like that – in Israel with my kids and my wife. Its like tying my old life growing up in Australia to my new life in Israel. I used to go to quite a few concerts with my father when I was a teenager, and I have to admit I was slightly embarrassed, but I don’t care how embarrassed my kids are at going with their old man. For me its moments like these that feature heavily in my own internal highlight reel of my life.
- I can’t wait for Neil Young next month!!!!! Going with the girls again (and Brian of London is tagging along as well).
Here’s a little of Mick speaking Hebrew: