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Rolling Stones to play Israel in June

Legendary British band will perform in Park Hayarkon; tickets start at NIS 595

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The Rolling Stones (photo credit: courtesy)
The Rolling Stones (photo credit: courtesy)

The Rolling Stones confirmed Tuesday that they will perform in Tel Aviv on June 4 as part of their “14 On Fire” world tour.

“It’s the first time in 35 years that I have no words to describe the enormity of this event,” said producer Shuki Weiss, who has been trying to get the band to Israel for much of his career.

The concert had been rumored for months, but organizers were only able to announce the official confirmation at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

“This is a historic moment,” said Weiss, who has produced many of Israel’s largest concerts. “It’s a huge honor to bring the Rolling Stones to Israel, an honor for the country, the citizens, and mostly for the fans who have waited for this moment.”

The Rolling Stones longtime band members, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, have been touring England and the US for the last year. The band will treat Israeli fans to some of its classic hits, including “Gimme Shelter,” “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll,” “Paint It Black,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and “Tumbling Dice.”

Despite rumors regarding the Stones’ price tag for the event, Weiss’s staff said they were not sharing that information. He received word Friday confirming the performance, and with 71 days until the concert, Weiss said he was emotional and excited.

“They were supposed to come for Israel’s 40th, but that didn’t work out,” he said.

He remarked on the recent tragedy that befell lead singer Mick Jagger, whose longtime girlfriend, designer L’Wren Scott, committed suicide last week.

The Stones’ concerts in Australia and New Zealand were postponed following news of her death.

“This is emotional, even for me, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Weiss. “Summer 2014 is lining up to be a great summer of biggie performances, with Neil Young, the Pixies, Soundgarden, and this is the cherry on top.”

The June 4 concert, which falls at the end of the holiday of Shavuot, will begin at 8:30 pm, with the holiday ending at 8:24 pm. The concert in Tel Aviv will take place between concerts in Zurich and Holland, and is one of only 14 performed in Europe this summer, said Weiss.

Ticket sales begin Sunday, March 30 at 9 a.m. The concert is sponsored by Pelephone, and its customers can order as of Thursday, March 27, at 9 a.m. through the Pelephone website, where there are only a limited number of these pre-order tickets.

Prices on the low end are NIS 595 ($170) for Pelephone customers and NIS 695 regular admission for a space on the lawn. Golden Ring tickets are NIS 1,690 (Pelephone) and NIS 1,790, and for the VIP area, the only area to include seating, tickets are NIS 2,750 (Pelephone) and NIS 2,850 regular.

Weiss said he expected tickets to sell out quickly, as they had in most cities. He expects to sell between 50,000 and 55,000 tickets, and commented that the Israeli public appreciates concerts of this kind.

“We invested a lot of thought in what to charge,” said Weiss, adding that the Tel Aviv show will be the only one in the Middle East. “It’s a big event, and it will draw tourists as well.”

Weiss said the Israeli prices are considerably cheaper than in European cities — “what’s the alternative, not to have them?” — and he thanked Pelephone for partnering in the event, helping to discount prices for their clientele.

“I know Israeli customers,” he said. “Everyone will figure out who can buy tickets for them through Pelephone.”

Fans will also have the chance of winning a pair of tickets by sharing the concert announcement photo from the official Facebook page and writing a few words about the band and concert. The winner will be announced on March 26, at 4:20 p.m.

The Rolling Stones (photo credit: courtesy)
The Rolling Stones (photo credit: courtesy)

The Stones in recent months had been reported to be in negotiations for an Israel show. According to a January Yedioth Ahronoth report, the group has been offered some $4.5 million for the performance, the largest amount ever offered to any artist to play in Israel.

The Rolling Stones formed in London in 1962 and become one of the iconic acts of the classic rock era, charting hits well into the early 1980s. The band has released nearly 30 albums and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. In recent years, the Stones have embarked on several highly lucrative world tours.

Gavriel Fiske contributed to this report.

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