The Rolling Stones play the Stade de France arena Friday night on the latest leg of their "14 on Fire" tour. The performance follows the band's first-ever gig in Israel, which went ahead despite pro-Palestinian activists urging them to cancel.
The legendary British band played a surprise mini-gig in Paris earlier this year for just 27 fans on Valentine's Day.
The Stones also played a surprise concert in October 2012 as they celebrated 50 years of rock 'n' roll fame. All of the 350 tickets available (priced at €15) sold out in minutes.
The band only resumed their world tour in Oslo last week after suspending it following the March suicide of lead singer Mick Jagger's partner, L'Wren Scott.
They performed their first-ever gig in Israel on Wednesday night, despite pro-Palestinian activists urging them to cancel the show over allegations of Israeli rights abuses.
The band touched down in Tel Aviv on Monday aboard their private jet – emblazoned with their iconic tongue logo – accompanied by some 70 staff, according to Israeli media.
Guitarist Ronnie Wood, drummer Charlie Watts and keyboardist Chuck Leavell travelled to Jerusalem on Tuesday to visit its Old City, but Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards did not join them.
Israeli organisers and media have branded the concert, part of the band's European tour, a "historic visit".
Israeli promoter Shuki Weiss, once quoted as saying he would retire after bringing the Stones to Israel, had guaranteed the band $6.7 million (€4.9 million) for the one-night performance at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park, according to a newspaper report.
Rock music columnist Benny Dudkevitch told AFP the Stones had taken so long to reach Israel's shores because no promoter in the country had been willing to put down enough money to host them.
Tickets sold for the equivalent of between €140 and €1,000 euros ($190 - $1,360), forcing many fans to abandon plans for seeing the band play live.
Weiss told the daily Haaretz that the concert had to be pushed back by 45 minutes to give practising Jews the chance to get there after the holiday of Shavuot ends at sunset.
The band has been under pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, including fellow rock stars, to cancel the gig as part of a boycott of Israel over alleged human rights abuses.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) committee urged the Stones to abandon the concert, noting the band had been vocal opponents of racial segregation in South Africa, comparing apartheid to Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.
"Palestinian organisations urge the Rolling Stones to refrain from playing in apartheid Israel and not to condone Israel's violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people," BDS said when the concert was announced in March.
Fellow rock legends Roger Waters and Nick Mason, the founders of Pink Floyd, joined the calls for a boycott.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-06-13