Rolling Stones Rain Satisfaction on Tel Aviv

There's no such thing as a mediocre concert by the epic Stones. But maybe you should read this review from end to start.

Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev
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Mick Jagger in Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2014.Credit: AFP
Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev

Rock 'n' roll fans waited decades for this moment.

Not especially to hear Mick Jagger struggling to say in Hebrew "We are the Rolling Stones," but rather to see and hear him, Keith Richards and the rest of the Stones unleashing on the Israeli stage all the musical goods that have justifiably turned them into the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world.

As such, it was a historic appearance with a capital H, without a doubt. But it was also, and this does not clash with the former statement, a mediocre concert. The 2014 model Rolling Stones have long stopped being the best stadium band, and that's okay. They are allowed to be that.

Jagger is in impressive physical condition, but he is no longer the mighty singer he once was. Richards was not at his best. There were moments when he squeezed out of his guitar his wonderful coarse grease, but there were many songs in which he didn't look fully focused musically. In practice, the Stones only rose to their guitar groove when Mick Taylor, who was the band's lead guitarist in the early 1970s, made a surprise appearance on the stage. "Midnight Rambler," which they played with him, was very long and very wonderful. It happened more than an hour into the show.

Then the Stones were no longer at their best, and they screwed up on some songs. The thing is that the better stadium bands don't have the Stones' songs. They don't have a quarter of the quantity or quality of the Stones' songs. And when the song was great, the sloppiness stopped being a problem.

Take for example "Get Off My Cloud." They played the song after half an hour of lesser songs from the 1970s and 1980s, and suddenly all the reservations evaporated, and we too, at least I, were sailing on a cloud. The same thing happened with "Paint It Black." When the song is played, the execution can be sloppy. It doesn't really bother you.

This review is being written during the performance, at the moments the Stones are firing their heaviest guns: "Jumping Jack Flash," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Brown Sugar." Could it be that I wrote a moment ago that it was a mediocre performance? Correct that. It couldn't be a mediocre performance with songs like these. And, soon, it will be the turn of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and then "Satisfaction," and volumes of satisfaction will rain down on the park.

What joy. You should start reading this review right at this sentence.

Rolling Stones perform in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2014Credit: Moti Milrod
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Spectators watch the Rolling Stones concert in Hayrkon Park in Tel Aviv,June 4, 2014.Credit: AP
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Mick Jagger (R), Keith Richards (C) and Ronnie Wood from British rock group The Rolling Stones, perform on stage at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2014.Credit: AFP
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Charlie Watts (R), Keith Richards (C) and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones perform during their '14 on Fire' concert at the Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv June 4, 2014.Credit: Reuters