Foreigner takes Tel Aviv - without its only original member

Some fans complained when Mick Jones didn't show - but the production company said the guitarist was too ill to travel.

Foreigner's 40th anniversary tour concert in Tel Aviv (photo credit: AMY SPIRO)
Foreigner's 40th anniversary tour concert in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: AMY SPIRO)
They were juke box heroes, they showed us what love is and they were hot blooded. But the band that took the stage at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, was more of a tribute act than a Foreigner 40th anniversary tour. That's because the last remaining original member of the band, Mick Jones, didn't show up for the show in Israel.
According to the local production company, Jones "did not feel well ahead of his scheduled Thursday flight, and after medical checks it was decided that he is not fit to fly." Hadran Productions said attempts were made to have the 73-year-old Jones join the group later, but his medical condition would not permit.
"The show was held in Menora Mivtachim Arena to the complete satisfaction of the audience," a spokesman said.
Indeed, the rest of the group - lead singer Kelly Hansen, who has been touring with them since 2005, bassist Jeff Pilson, who arrived in 2004, guitarist and saxophonist Tommy Gimbel, who joined the group in 1992, and several even more recent additions - rocked their way through the Foreigner hit book on Saturday night.
From "Cold as Ice" to "Waiting For a Girl Like You," "Urgent," "I Want to Know What Love Is" and "Feels Like the First Time," the crowd hung on to every beat - and sang along to every word. The group was energetic and upbeat, and filled the stage with music and movement. Hansen sold the vibe with a long, extended riff on "Juke Box Hero" and several minutes of cheesy, love-laden build up to "I Want to Know What Love Is."
I may not be quite the target audience for a Foreigner 40th anniversary tour, but I could have done without Hansen's request for the "naughty girls" to make themselves known, and the 57-year-old to bend down and shake his ass for the crowd.
But the full but not packed crowd in Tel Aviv ate it up - in particular when he asked for those over age 40 to throw their hands in the air.
While most social media reviews of the show were positive, others were angry that Jones didn't show - and that they weren't notified.
Musician Mark Blumberg, who lives in Tel Aviv, said he felt "conned" by the show and thought it was outrageous to charge that much for what was essentially a cover band.
"I couldn't enjoy it," he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "I tried to but it felt tainted with con." Blumberg said if he knew Jones "wasn't going to be on stage, I wouldn't have bought a ticket in the first place."
He said he was writing to the production company to complain and demand a refund, but had yet to hear back.
"It's not enough to get a refund," he added. "I feel angry at being lied to."