Censored Stones Rock China
Mon, 10 Apr 2006 10:19:46
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Even after all these decades, The Rolling Stones are still finding some memorable firsts to add to their resume. The latest was this weekend’s show in Shanghai -- the iconic rock band’s first concert in China -- in front of 8,000 people at the Grand Stage. The band had previously been scheduled to play in Shanghai and Beijing in 2003, but canceled due to the SARS scare.
This time, the show went off as planned (bird flu be damned) -- but it wasn’t without hiccups. For starters, the Chinese fanbase for the Stones isn’t as massive as it is in many other countries; a crowd of 8,000 -- and there were reportedly a lot of Westerners among that number, which caused some consternation locally -- is practically an intimate club night by Stones standards. Then, when it came time to put together a set list, the Chinese government had a few things to say: namely, no “Brown Sugar,” no “Honky Tonky Woman,” no “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”
But the green light was given to other suggestive hits from the band’s catalog, such as requisite opener “Start Me Up,” which also caused a bit of a stir at this past year’s Super Bowl. Jagger referenced the banned songs, then joked that the band fortunately had hundreds of other songs from which to choose.
As they did at their gigantic recent show in Brazil, the Stones brought out a local favorite to further excite the crowd; in this case, Chinese rock hero Cui Jian, whose music played a supporting role during the protest movement in the Tiananmen Square era. Cui joined Jagger for a duet on “Wild Horses,” but, reportedly due to a lack of rehearsal time, tripped over the lyrics. All difficulties aside, it was, nonetheless, a historic evening for both visiting band and host country -- and Jagger said that he hopes the band can return.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff