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Following a violent summer that resulted in multiple concert cancelations, it took Lady Gaga to sing a new tune in Israel.
With the likes of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Backstreet Boys and Lana Del Rey choosing to forego scheduled concert dates in Tel Aviv due to escalating tensions between Israel and Gaza, which resulted in military action and a public outcry from both sides of the conflict, in its wake, rumors suggested that the pop icon’s artRAVE: the ARTPOP Ball tour stop would not take place on Sept. 13 as initially announced back in June. Yet Gaga stood firm and brought out some 30,000 cheering monsters to Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park on Saturday night.
Promotion for the show was practically nonexistent during the turbulent summer and only took off two weeks earlier, when the conflict quieted down. That cease-fire prompted local promoters to release a short clip of Gaga assuring fans that her show is a go. Last month, news website Mako reported that weak ticket sales only amounted to a few thousand, while promoters insisted they eventually sold 15,000. A push to move more tickets in the days ahead of her bow likely helped. Attendance at the venue was a far cry from Justin Timberlake‘s and The Rolling Stones’ early spring shows. Those artists played to some 50,000 people in HaYarkon Park.
Still, the concert marked a hopeful return to normalcy for the live music industry in Israel, with the long-term aim of attracting more artists in the coming months and years. Coincidentally, the night after Gaga’s show, her musical beau, Tony Bennett, is scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Charles Bronfman Auditorium. The pair will release their collaborative effort, Cheek to Cheek, on September 19.
Bennett, who arrived in town Saturday, was a surprise guest on Gaga’s stage, where the duo belted out their rendition of Jazz classic “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Gaga later acknowledged her previous show in Israel in August 2009. But contrary to initial speculation, she did not deliver a message of peace or address the tensions in the region. Rather, she thanked her fans for “making Tel Aviv her home for a day” and tearfully bowed out.
Gaga kicked off her brief Middle Eastern leg of artRAVE in Dubai Wednesday, before arriving in Israel on Friday, and she is set to depart for Istanbul on Tuesday. Tweeting her thanks to fashion designer Roberto Cavalli for the white frock she donned while stepping out of her plane in the holy land, Gaga took her excitement to Twitter a few more times since, saying “I am so excited for tonight’s performance, so many feelings. I can feel the energy of the crowd already.”
Along with Bennett’s show, other just-announced acts set to perform in Israel include Paul Anka, who rescheduled his July dates to mid-October, and The Beach Boys, who will make their inaugural visit in late November.
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