It might have been his band’s first visit to Israel, but Mick Jagger had learned plenty of Hebrew for Wednesday night’s Tel Aviv show. Here is the complete list of the Rolling Stones singer’s audience-friendly Hebrew remarks:
1. Erev Tov Tel Aviv (Good evening Tel Aviv). A modest opening foray, delivered two songs in. Quickly followed by…
2. Chag Shavuot Sameach, Yisrael (Happy Shavuot, Israel). Already impressive. A festive greeting. A mention of Israel. And those awkward guttural sounds mastered on CHag and SameaCH.
3. Anachnu HaAvanim Hamitgalgalot (Literally: We are the Rolling Stones). Yup, we knew that. We just didn’t know he knew how to say it in our language.
4. Todah. Shukran (Thank you, in Hebrew and Arabic). Delivered after an aching “Angie.” We were the thankful ones.
5. Hakol Sababa? (All good?). Excellent Arabic slang, invoked anxiously after “Paint It Black.” Reassured by a huge cheer that everything was indeed sababa, Jagger gave us a rich cockney “ohhhh kayy!”
6. Kanita Na’alayim Bashuk? (Did you buy shoes in the market?) The evening’s undoubted Hebrew highlight, asked of a presumably uncomprehending Ronnie Wood, who was wearing nifty orange sneakers. There was no audible reply, in Hebrew or any other language.
7. Lisa Fischer maksima (The lovely Lisa Fischer). Backing vocalist extraordinaire. One of only two musicians to merit a Jagger Hebrew introduction, the other being…
8. Al Hatupim (On the drums) Charlie Watts. Special treatment because, two days earlier, Jagger told us, it had been Charlie’s…
9. Yom Huledet (Birthday)! The audience responded with a raucous Hebrew rendition of “Happy Birthday” and the usually inscrutable drummer smiled, very broadly, like a bashful school kid. He’s 73, by the way.
10. Atem Nehenim? (Are you having a good time?) After a rousing “Gimme Shelter,” you betcha!
11. Atem Kahal Meturaf (You’re a Crazy Audience). A compliment as we neared the end, between “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar.”
12. Layla Tov, Ve’Shalom Tel Aviv (Goodnight and goodbye Tel Aviv). Mick’s final Hebrew utterances as the band disappeared. They reappeared for two encore songs, but the Jagger Hebrew vocabulary had been exhausted, leaving only the eternal question, Did Ronnie Wood buy his sneakers in the market?