With the first chord of one of the most famous guitar riffs reverberating through the amplifiers Wednesday, 50,000 music fans were greeted with the 1981 classic Start Me Up, as the Rolling Stones made their Israeli debut in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park.
As promised, the band took the stage at 9:15 p.m., pushing back their original start time to enable observant Jews to attend the entire concert after sundown marking the end of Shavuot, a holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Lead singer Mick Jagger got into the celebratory spirit, shouting to the crowd “Chag Shavuot Sameah [Happy Shavuot Holiday], Israel!”
As reported by The Times of Israel, the band played a 19-song set that included Brown Sugar, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) and Angie, a favorite amongst Israeli Stones fans.
About an hour into the two-hour show, the crowd was treated to a glimpse of the band in the early 1970s. Mick Taylor, who replaced founding Stones guitarist, the late Brian Jones, in 1969, joined the band for a performance of Midnight Rambler. Haaretz music critic Ben Shalev described Taylor’s part of the show as “very long and very wonderful.”
Also joining the band on stage was Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Choir, performing, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. When originally recorded in 1968, the song featured the London Bach Choir.
During the performance, Jagger reportedly showed off his Hebrew chops, saying to the crowd “Anachnu Ha’Avanim Ha’Mitgalgalot” (We are the Rolling Stones), “Hokol Sa baba?” (All good?), and asking guitarist Ronnie Wood, “Kanita Na’alayim Ba’Shuk?” (Did you buy shoes in the market?).
Members of the band, who are older than the Jewish State, enjoyed the younger nation during their stay.