Singing their way back to the holy land

Music fans are delighted by the return of global music stars.

eminem 88 (photo credit: )
eminem 88
(photo credit: )
One's having a tough year and the others are enjoying a major comeback, but both Eminem and the members of Depeche Mode are headed to Israel. The American rapper and British pop band will arrive next year for performances organized by Shuki Weiss, the Israeli concert promoter responsible for bringing Phil Collins to Tel Aviv earlier this month. Specific dates and venues for the shows have not yet been announced, though both concerts are likely to draw huge and enthusiastic crowds. In addition to Collins, Eminem and Depeche Mode will be the biggest artists to perform in Israel since the start of the intifada, when security fears prompted major musicians to steer clear of the country. Legendary rock bands the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd are also said to be considering concerts here in late 2006 and summer 2007. After nearly three decades together, Depeche Mode has returned to pop relevance. Following last year's wellreceived update of Nineties hit "Enjoy the Silence," the band is currently riding high on the success of "Precious," the lead single off its latest album. The song has been put in heavy rotation on Israeli radio stations and the major music video networks, and is holding steady after nearly two months on Billboard's Top 10 global dance chart. Now touring North America, the band has announced tour dates in Europe through April, with the Israeli concert likely to be scheduled for next summer. Eminem's arrival here is equally certain to please local fans, with particularly ardent "Slim Shady" followers receiving over 2,200 signatures on an online petition urging the rapper to perform in Israel. Known for insistent beats and lyrics that range in tone from playful to murderous - critics have attacked the Detroit-based performer for songs seeming to encourage violence against gays and his ex-wife - Eminem will perform in Israel at a slightly uncertain juncture in his career. The most famous white rapper to emerge in the United States, the "Lose It" performer's most recent album was a relative disappointment at home. Though the Encore's generally positive reviews and multi-platinum sales would be the envy of most artists, the record failed to achieve the lasting power of previous Eminem efforts and was easily overshadowed by the sophomore release of 50 Cent, an Eminem protege originally viewed as the rapper's artistic inferior. Discussion of a Pink Floyd concert remains tentative and follows years of false rumors about possible performances in Israel. The legendary band reunited at June's Live 8 concert in support of African debt foregiveness and would likely frame a concert here in the context of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Roger Waters, one of the band's founders, helped start the "Writings on the Wall" campaign in 2004, which opposed Israel's construction of a security barrier in parts of the West Bank. The project took at least nominal inspiration from the The Wall, the Pink Floyd release that has sold sold 23 million copies worldwide and remains one of the most influential albums of all time. The Rolling Stones, whose August 2006 concert was first reported in The Jerusalem Post in April, earned strong reviews in September for A Bigger Bang, the band's latest album of original music. Rarities, a compilation of the 60-something rockers' songs between 1971 and 2003, went on sale earlier this month.