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May 27, 2014 1:16 pm

Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood Says Bob Dylan Was Behind Band’s Decision to Play in Israel

avatar by Dave Bender

The Rolling Stones. Photo: Wikipedia.

After 52 years, the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” is tuning up for a fervently anticipated June 4th gig in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.

And the impetus for the Rolling Stones’ historic arrival during their 14 On Fire European tour came from none other than Bob Dylan, according to Israel’s Channel 2 news.

“Bob Dylan was coming off stage,” guitarist Ronnie Wood replied in a video interview to reporters’ questions, “and I asked him – ‘where you going?’ and he said, ‘Israel – we’re going to Tel Aviv!’

“He had a big smile on his face, because he loves it. And I said to him, ‘well, we’ve never done it.’ That planted a seed that I’d like to play it one day. So, here we go…”

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Tickets are running from NIS 700 ($200) for grass seating to NIS 2,855 ($820) for VIP level seating and service.

The legendary band’s arrival comes after Pink Floyd founding members Roger Waters and Nick Mason publicly called on the Stones not to play in Israel.

Keith Richards, when asked about the set list, promised “they’ll be all the hits in there, and a few little surprises…” possibly from songs pitched by Israeli fans via their website and mobile phone app, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

The rock legends join a bevy of A-list artists set to land at Ben Gurion airport this summer, including Justin Timberlake, the Pixies, Neil Young and many others, despite detractors’ boycott calls.

Coming to Israel after a warm up with three previous shows that began Monday night in Oslo, Richards added that “when we get to Tel Aviv, it should be the Rolling Stones on full power, and all 12 cylinders.”

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