An English Pink Floyd cover band played to a packed house in Tel Aviv Saturday night despite having initially promised mastermind behind the original band’s (and British rock for that matter) most successful albums, Roger Waters.
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“Experience” tried to get around their pledge to boycott the Israeli state by employing an Israeli-based Pink Floyd cover band, “Echoes” to play to a packed crowd in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
The Experience tribute band played their scheduled gig, but without its singer, drummer and saxophone player, and performed Pink Floyd obscure songs, those not written by Roger Waters, an outspoken pro-Palestinian activist and a supporter of the anti-Israeli occupation Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Moreover, the Experience and concert coordinators enlisted an Israeli Pink Floyd tribute band, “Echoes” to played over half -10 of the 19-songs performed at the concert.
Ziv Rubinstein, a EGOEast Productions, who booked the show, told Israeli media that after a week of negotiations he and other EGOEast members “convinced” the band to go ahead with the Israeli show.
“We convinced them,” Rubenstein told local media. “I found myself doing diplomacy for Israel, but it wasn’t political. This isn’t politics,” said Rubenstein, according to the Times of Israel.
“We’re musicians and you have to separate music and politics. I told them that the audiences come out because they love the music, and not because of any one person’s politics,” the Times quotes Rubenstein as saying.
The concert planner and promoter went on: “I used this thing called words. … I used the ammunition that Mr. Waters uses, which is his words,” Ziv told the Jerusalem Post at the end of December, weeks after the band went back on its word to Water to not do the concert. He said he flew to England to have a “heart to hearts” with the Experience to “convince” them to go through with the performance, according to The Jerusalem Post.
However, on Dec. 20 Rogers posted on his Facebook account that Rubenstein and EGO actually threatened to sue Experience were they to boycott.
Rogers’ social media post read: “Hmmm! According to the band's spokesperson, Dave Power, Rubinstein 'spent days explaining to him and the rest of the band that, he, ‘Rubinstein' and 'EGO concerts' the promoters would sue 'UK Pink Floyd Experience' relentlessly, and that, he, ‘Dave Powers’ would be broken financially and would probably lose his house.’ After a week of HEART to HEART, the band caved.”
The famed and still-touring Rogers went on: “I’m sorry you buckled boys, I could, and would, have helped you resist had you asked.”
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Waters is a long-time BDS activist and recently visited Ecuador’s Amazon to witness the grave health and environmental effects by Chevron-Texaco oil spills in the region.
“They wanted to come, … but they were scared. They were threatened by Mr. Waters,” claimed Rubenstein. “We are obliged to fulfill our contractual obligation to perform in Israel in January 2019,’” The Experience said on its website after they were “convinced” by EGO.
Rogers had congratulated The Experience on Dec. 9 when the music group said it would boycott its Israeli shows: ”I am very happy that they have canceled their shows in Israel, they agree that, in their own words, ”The situation in Israel and Palestine is intolerable”. I’m very glad to welcome them into the BDS fold,” he said over Facebook.
When Rogers heard of their change of “heart,” he wrote on Dec. 20: “It's just part of the Israeli lobby’s Hasbara, trying to paint me as a wicked bully rather than a concerned human rights activist.”
Rogers continued on Facebook: “You have told my management that you’ll be doing a set in Israel without performing any of my songs. Well, thank you for that small concession, it won’t bring back the dead or help end the occupation. ... Please ask the Israeli tribute band who share the bill with you to denounce their country's apartheid policies during their set. I hope they, like you, are not playing any of my songs. I bear you no ill will.
As of Jan. 7 the band still had not listed the reinstated Israel gig in its list of past shows on its website.