Courtesy of timesofisreal.com
After a tumultuous summer for Israel, Lady Gaga has ended the curse of cancelled concerts in the country. On Saturday night in Tel Aviv, Gaga gave a rousing performance to 30,000 wildly-cheering attendees at HaYarkon Park. Tony Bennett guested onstage to perform “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and Gaga thanked fans for “making Tel Aviv her home for a day.” She delivered no messages on peace and did not address the political tensions of the region.
Concerts in Tel Aviv have been canceled left and right following the escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Backstreet Boys, Lana Del Rey and more chose to opt out of their scheduled performances in the region. Rumors circulated that Gaga would not perform either, but her artRAVE tour performance marked a hope for some semblance of normalcy for the live music industry in Israel. Before she went onstage, she expressed her excitement in tweets. “I am so excited for tonight’s performance, so many feelings. I can feel the energy of the crowd already.” Israeli concert producer Udi Appleboim said that he was both “proud and happy” to host the Monster hitmaker, a few days prior to the show. “It is an honor to host her for a historic concert.” As Gaga walked onstage to an ecstatic crowd, she told them “Don’t (mess) around tonight, it’s time to celebrate!”
Gaga’s choice to refrain from commenting on the tensions of the region might be in keeping with her general consideration of the cultures for each tour location. Prior to her tour, she cleared up her main performance rule. “I know there are some artists that are very strict about their policies of adhering to their art and not compromising, but I actually think it’s important to respect other cultures and not force them to adhere to the beliefs of your own country,” she said. “In fact, I think it’s a better way to connect with the people and to connect a message.” A week ago, she decided against baring any skin for her Dubai performance, in order to be “appropriate” for fans in the region. Her alternative outfit was a floor-length gown, designed by a Dubai local. Before her Tel Aviv performance, she posted a video for her attending fans (opening with “Shalom”), which met with mixed reactions. Watch it here.