Invasion of the summer shows

Bieber, Aerosmith, Radiohead - 2017 is shaping up to be a banner one for international touring acts. David Brinn highlights the main attractions and whether they're worth the shekels.

Lead singer Thom Yorke performs with his band Radiohead at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 8, 2009 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Lead singer Thom Yorke performs with his band Radiohead at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 8, 2009
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Imagine Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Guns & Roses front man Axl Rose bumping into each other at the smoked fish table at the Tel Aviv Hilton breakfast buffet.
Whether or not they would have anything in common beyond small talk about pickled sturgeon, that bong dream scenario could conceivably be consummated in Israel when both bands perform at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon within 4 days of each other – G&R on July 15 and Radiohead on July 19.
"We're on the map!" Israeli basketball legend Tal Brody exclaimed back in 1977. And while his now iconic statement was referring to Maccabi Tel Aviv's stunning victory in the European Cup Basketball Championship, the phrase also seems applicable to the Israeli international concert industry.
The announcement earlier this month that giant US promoters Live Nation had purchased a majority stake in Tel Aviv’s Bluestone Entertainment and launched Ticketmaster in Israel, is an indication that Israel has arrived as a respected destination for international touring act, BDS efforts be damned.
Bluestone, founded in 2014 by Madonna manager Guy Oseary, Guy Beser, Shay Mor Yosef and Gadi Veinrib, has brought over Bon Jovi, the Backstreet Boys and Enrique Iglesias and is handling the Guns & Roses show as well as Aerosmith at Park Hayarkon on May 17.
“The Israeli fans have proved in the last three years that there is a real market and demand for live international shows,” said Beser and Mor Yosef in an announcement. “The collaboration between Live Nation and Bluestone will firmly establish Israel as a ‘must-play’ market on any world tour.”
Barring any Gaza escalation, the next few months promise to be the busiest musical season that Israel has arguably ever seen.
Besides the return of Radiohead and Guns & Roses, a slew of acts current and archaic will be touching down at Ben-Gurion Airport and entertaining their fans.
The discerning music fan with a limited budget is going to have to make some tough decisions. Here is an admittedly subjective consumer guide rating from 1-10 which shows are best to rock and which you should roll over:
Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman 
March 7, Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets from NIS 235 to 640
Core members of 1970s progressive rockers Yes – Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin – take listeners on a time machine of hippie/sci-fi lyrics, choir boy harmonies and intricate instrumental passages.  Wakeman's Tel Aviv solo show in 2014 was loads of fun. Grade - 7
The Orchestra
March 23-26 in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
Tickets – NIS 250-500
No Jeff Lynne, and only violinist Mik Kaminsky from the original Electric Light Orchestra will be onstage. But as shown from their previous visits to perform in Israel, the Orchestra puts on a crowd-pleasing, professional and faithfully rendered replication of the British band's pop hits. Grade - 6
March 20 & 21, Barby Club, Tel Aviv
Tickets:  209
Quirky California psychedelic pranksters Grandaddy never fail to deliver a show full of surprises and fun.  Jason Lytle and company give skewed rock a good name. Grade - 8
Eddie Izzard
March 30, Shlomo Group Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 150-300
British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard brings his Force Majeure show to Israel for the first time.  From Darth Vader to Greek mythology to human sacrifice, Izzard offers a smart and hysterical viewpoint worthy of Monty Python. Grade - 8
Jean Michael Jarre
April 6, Masada Amphitheater, Dead Sea
Tickets: NIS 495 – 2,995
Subtitled the Zero Gravity Concert, this will be spectacle of the first order, with the French godfather of electronic music going full laser and fireworks for this late night show at the foot of Masada. Watch out for the brown acid. Grade – 8
Justin Bieber
May 3, Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 395 -1125
The Canadian teen pop idol didn't sell out Park Hayarkon on his first visit here in 2011, but reviews cited a sterling performance full of glitz, dancing and heart.  The show of the year if you're under  18. Grade - 6
May 17, Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv
Tickets:  NIS 295 – 875
The bad boys of Boston rock on their farewell tour, back in Israel for the first time since 1994. Expect a lot of their latter-day middle of the road hits, but also a fair share of bluesy raunch from Tyler, Perry and company. Grade – 8
Paul Young
May 21, Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 199-449
The blue-eyed soul veteran returns to Israel with his greatest hits, like "Wherever I Lay my hat,"" Come back and Stay" and "Every Time You Go Away."  The voice may not be as strong, but the songs endure. Grade - 6
June  13, Barby Club, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 184
One of Down Under's sterling indie rock bands,  Pond is an offshoot of Tame Impala, who won Israeli hearts last year in Rishon Lezion. See them in an intimate club before they head off to Primavera and Coachella. Grade - 8
Rod Stewart
June 14, Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 255- 795
One of late 1960s/early 1970s rock's greatest singers and song stylists is sure to present a mixed bag jukebox – the great ("Maggie May") and the not-so-great ("Do Ya Think I'm Sexy) from his uneven career.   A Las Vegas revue in Tel Aviv.  Grade – 7
Jim Gaffigan
June 30, Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 194-354
Some comic relief amid the music – the last time Gaffigan was in town, he did an impromptu set at the tiny Off the Wall club in Jerusalem. This time, even though it's full Seinfeld arena mode, it should still be just as funny. Grade - 8
Guns & Roses
July 15, Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 355 – 1,355
The fabled hard rockers' 'Not in This Lifetime" tour marks their third appearance in Israel (the second with the core trio of Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan). By all accounts, they're firing on all cylinders and Axl is  even showing up on time. Grade - 8
July 19, Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 484
Israel helped break them back in 1993, and the British superstars are returning the favor, albeit at a hefty price. The only fear is that Thom Yorke's haunting falsetto and the blips and bleeps of the band will be drowned out by fans yelling for "Creep." Grade - 9
July 25, Caesarea Amphitheater
Tickets:  NIS 204-366
What are these aging Boston indie rockers doing in a classy place like Caesarea? Bringing the '90s back to life, albeit without Kim Deal. Based on their 2014 show here, expect a lot of music and no talk. Grade – 7.5
Tears for Fears
July 5,  Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 290-799
The quintessential '80s MTV band (save for Duran Duran) make their Israel debut to perform hits like "Mad World," "Shout"  and  "The Seeds of Love." Nostalgia for a time nobody really liked that much. Grade – 5.5
Nick Cave
November  19-20, Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 234
The dark prince returns to Israel after a long absence at a career peak -  his 16th album Skeleton Tree, recorded after the death of his 15-year-old son, is one of his best. With Leonard Cohen and David Bowie gone, Cave carries the torch of stormy poetry and jagged hearts. Grade - 9
December 2, Menorah Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Tickets: NIS 204-604
The Mick Jones-led classic rockers keep lumbering on with another visit to Israel as part of their 'Flame Still Burns' tour.  As pleasing and professional as it will be, does anyone really want to hear "Hot Blooded" again? Grade - 5