(photo credit: Yuval Chen)
At the age of 67, Paul Anka, the heartthrob of the 1950s and '60s, filled the Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv on Thursday for the second consecutive night. Some 12,000 nostalgic fans were taken back in time to an era of screaming teenage girls and unforgettable ballads.
Anka began the show by dancing his way down to the crowd on the floor. As he belted out his famous number "Diana," fans roared and danced alongside him. A true performer, he hooked the crowd with his incredible sense of humor, even stopping to answer a cellphone call from one of the fans in the front row.
Overwhelmed by the turnout, Anka greeted the audience by quipping, "Wow, who's left to watch the border?"
A photo album of the star's personal history and career depicted Anka's 1950s stardom alongside Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Both tears and joy filled fans' eyes as Anka took them on a journey through musical history. Not only did he perform his greatest hits from the last half-century, he combined dedications of songs he had written for stars such as Sammy Davis Jr. ("who took a back seat half his life because of his color"), Frank Sinatra ("old blue eyes"), Buddy Holly, Michael Jackson and Israel's Ofra Haza.
Moving between the piano and the acoustic guitar, Anka dazzled the audience and kept the spectators on their toes. Accompanied by a 12-piece ensemble comprising America's best, the star paused for a seven-minute acoustic jam session that brought the house down.
The show was testimony to an era, a gateway to grasping the enormity of Anka's contribution to an entire generation. It closed to a standing ovation and the timeless Sinatra number "My Way."
After an ear-shattering applause, the star returned for an unforgettable round of "New York, New York," "Twist & Shout" and "Proud Mary."
With a promise to return next year, Anka left his mark on Tel Aviv and proved to the world that charisma and talent have no age barrier.
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