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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Their most famous song urges listeners to "Enjoy the Silence," a suggestion Israeli music fans will have no choice but to take after the members of Depeche Mode announced the cancellation of the band's concert tomorrow night in Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park.
Though expected, the announcement nevertheless ends the summer on a sour note for Israeli concert-goers, 40,000 of whom had already purchased tickets for the highly anticipated, heavily promoted show.
"Unfortunately, the historical moment will not take place," read an announcement posted on Depeche Mode's Israeli fan club website late Tuesday afternoon. A statement released by the band's Israeli publicists early Tuesday morning also neglected to cite a reason for the last minute cancellation, though security fears among the band's technical crew were later cited as the overriding factor in the decision not to come to Israel.
In November, Depeche Mode had become one of the first musical groups of global stature to announce a tour date in Israel, helping to bring about the end of a nearly six-year drought of visits by foreign stars resulting from the second intifada. As late as Sunday evening, band members were telling Israeli television they intended to play the Tel Aviv show so as not to break their word to Israeli fans, while Shuki Weiss, the show's promoter, told reporters at a Sunday morning press conference he still expected the band to arrive. The promoter did note, however, a last-minute cancellation in 2001 by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, implying local Depeche Mode fans would be wise not to get their hopes up too high.
The band's warm-up act, rock band Blonde Redhead, announced Monday that it would no longer perform at Thursday's concert and was also calling off its own headlining shows in Tel Aviv on Friday and Saturday. The Depeche Mode concert, however, still appeared to be on.
The last summer concert featuring major foreign pop stars, the Depeche Mode performance was also the most heavily publicized of the summer, with show sponsors beginning television advertisements not long after the announcement of the concert date and continuing yesterday even after the cancellation was announced.
Rumors about a Depeche Mode no-show had already circulated for months before Tuesday's early morning announcement, with local skeptics suggesting that any outbreak of heavy fighting between Israel and its neighbors would immediately scuttle any chances for the show. Hopes that the concert would take place were bolstered, however, after successful Israeli performances in June and July by prominent foreign acts including hip-hop band The Black Eyed Peas, rapper 50 Cent and former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.
Though Depeche Mode's cancellation was not the first of the summer - pop stars Kelly Clarkson and Ricky Martin cancelled shows as well - it was perhaps the most disappointing for Israeli music fans, who saw in the band's decision the possibility that Israel would once again disappear from the global concert circuit as a result of ongoing regional instability. The announcement of Depeche Mode's cancellation also differed from those of other acts in explicitly stating that the band would not be rescheduling its Israeli show. Whereas Clarkson, Martin and lesser foreign artists had promised to perform for local fans at a later date, Depeche Mode's press statement apologized repeatedly but added, "Unfortunately, at present there is no way to reschedule the concert, as this is the end of the Depeche Mode world tour."
Even pessimistic music fans couldn't fully have anticipated the circumstances surrounding the cancellation, though cynics have treated it almost as an inevitability for months. After Clarkson cited throat problems in calling off a Tel Aviv concert scheduled for March, TV sketch comedy Eretz Nehederet joked that Depeche Mode would be even more upset about the announcement than Israeli music fans.
"Now they'll have to come up with another excuse not to come," quipped the host of the show.
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