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Simply put, Israel is back on the map. After an absence of several years, major international acts are returning to perform here, and there is no shortage of fans who support their decision. June 2006 will bring more major musical performances than Israel has seen in a long time.
The month kicks off with two shows scheduled for the same day and aimed at slightly different audiences.
Set to take the stage Saturday, though at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium, is hip-hop sensation The Black Eyed Peas. Sponsored by Orange, all 17,500 tickets have already been sold for the 6 p.m. show. Kicking off a European tour to promote their current album, Monkey Business, the group attained huge international success with the song "Where is the Love," which featured a chorus provided by Justin Timberlake. The group has released a steady stream of hits since then, including "Shut Up," "Let's Get It Started," "My Humps" and the odd but refreshing ditty about the virtues of truth telling, "Don't Lie."
Set to appear at the more subdued Goldstar Zappa club, the British band Mattafix, which gave us the single "Big City Life," will offer shows on June 6 and 7. The two Brits who comprise the band are from highly different backgrounds. Preetesh, whose parents immigrated to the UK from India, and Marion, whose British parents raised him in the West Indies, bring the sounds of their familial and geographical environs together with a modern, 21st century urban/electric approach.
Only one day later, June 8, Sting takes the stage at the Ramat Gan Stadium. Gates open at 6 p.m. for a night that is certain to be filled with nostalgia for the performer's years in The Police, as well as a showcase for his more recent musical efforts. The man hardly needs an introduction, but he is in need of an opening act - a role to be filled by rapping Jewish reggae sensation Matisyahu. This Chabad virtuoso, who is keeping Internet forums abuzz for having turned down a contract to endorse the non-kosher offerings at Burger King, will be performing here for the second time in less than a year. Once dismissed as a gimmick, the orthodox performer is showing no signs of disappearing, with Youth, his most recent album, having debuted in the Billboard Top 10.
The first half of June will also feature the appearance of the world's number one hip-pop thug rapper, 50 Cent. Set to take the stage at Ramat Gan on June 17, 50 Cent will give his audience their money's worth with such hits as "Candy Shop," "God Gave Me Style," "P.I.M.P" and "In Da Club."
The summer will continue with a combination of big names and indie-rock. Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters will be performing at Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam at the end of June. July will bring Silver Jews and Devendra Banhart, and international superstars Depeche Mode will perform at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park August 3.
Tickets for the Ricky Martin show are NIS 149 for seating on the grass, NIS 249 on chairs; Sting tickets range in price between NIS 309 and 600; 50 Cent tickets run from NIS 149 to 299. (The Black Eyed Peas concert is sold out.) Call (03) 531-5200 to order tickets.
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