We didn’t go to the Rolling Stones concert last night. And we have only heard from one person who did go, second hand at that. Here’s the message we received today:
my mate said the stones were ho-hum. bad sound. late start. no cabs at the end and rain. no beer. but mick jagger pretty strong performance.
The Associated Press, the AFP and Reuters all had people at the show. They all talked about the songs that were censored (five was the latest count, we think — “Brown Sugar,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Beast of Burden,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Rough Justice”), Mick Jagger’s attempts at speaking Chinese to the mostly expat audience, high prices for scalped tickets (someone reported $600) and Jagger’s “Wild Horses” duet with Chinese artist Cui Jian. Only the AFP included this tidbit:
In a bow to the Godfather of Chinese rock, the band invited Cui Jian to accompany Jagger on the ballad ‘Wild Horses.’
The decision to perform a duet was hastily arranged two days ago and for China’s most famous rocker, it could not have gone worse.
Cui, who said he had waited 20 years for the Rolling Stones to come to China, stumbled through the lyrics, forcing Jagger to come to the rescue several times.
There was some controversy the day before the show — reportedly no Chinese media were allowed to attend the Friday press conference with the band. Bizarre, no? The Shanghai Daily and China Daily still had stories, but they were written by guys named Douglas Williams and Mark South. (By the way, take a look at the photo that accompanied the Shanghai Daily story: Is Charlie Watts alive?) Maybe the domestic media was excluded because the Stones knew they would say something stupid. Keith Richards supposedly blurted out “We feel like Marco Polo!”
Jagger was definitely aware who his audience would be Saturday night: “I’m pleased that the Ministry of Culture is protecting the morals of the expat bankers and their girlfriends that are going to be coming.”
So was the local press:
The newspaper Shanghai Morning Post also complained in an article that only one Chinese media outlet had been allowed to cover the band’s arrival Thursday.
“The Rolling Stones come to Shanghai, but they’re only performing for foreigners,” read the headline on the front page of the paper’s entertainment section.
UPDATE: Flickr user Neil Z J Y was at the show. His photos start here. If any other Flickr users have photos, tag them “shanghaiist” and they will automatically appear on our photos page. Or you can simply email them to [email protected].
Also on Shanghaiist:
Are the Rolling Stones headed to Shanghai?
Rolling Stones … Shanghai … April 8
Do the Rolling Stones know they are playing Shanghai?
Extra! Extra! Train tickets, Rolling Stones tickets and crowded graves
The Rolling Stones talk about Shanghai (briefly)
Rolling Stones arrive, city’s average age increases slightly
In a First, the Stones Rock China, but Hold the Brown Sugar (Howard W. French)
Great Rolling Stones concert in Shanghai! (Marc van der Chijs)
Most locals don’t hear city’s Bigger Bang (Shanghai Daily)
Image of Mick Jagger and Cui Jian from the AP via Yahoo! News. More photos here.