Rolling Stones 2006 Concert Review – Shanghai

The Rolling Stones – 04/08/2006 Concert Report – Shanghai, China

“Ni Hao Shanghai”

Mick speaks Chinese! Jagger’s pronunciation, like this concert, wasn’t absolutely perfect but it was a very special night as it marked the first time the World’s Greatest Rock n Roll band performed in the Peoples Republic of China. It was a long time coming. The idea was proposed in the 70s but the government gave the thumbs down. In 2003, a show was booked but then cancelled because of SARS. During a mysterious hour delay on Saturday night, it seemed the moment might never come…but finally, at a few minutes after 9, Keith unleashed the opening riff of Start Me Up. China – for the first time – felt the warm saliva of the Stones tongue, up to then only seen on so many pirated t-shirts.

The show, clocking in at a little under two hours, was a little shorter and featured four fewer songs than the Bigger Bang tour debut at Fenway Park in Boston last summer. Four also happened to be the number of songs the Chinese Ministry of Culture required the Stones to not play before granting permission for the aborted concert three years ago. The songs in question: Brown Sugar, Lets Spend the Night Together, Honky Tonk Women, and Beast of Burden, indeed were not heard nor was an addition to the taboo list, Rough Justice. The fact that the concert was broadcast on China Central Television may have further inhibited the show. Mick toed the line by taking it easy on the dead man cum bit during Start Me Up and the visuals lacked the little raunchy touches that have become a familiar part of the Stones experience. At one point, two giant inflatables of women dressed in athletic gear appeared on either side of the stage but they may have malfunctioned as they were never brought into full view or properly lighted. Still, Mick snuck in one F bomb (During Miss You, “You’ve been fucking with my time…”) and one fan had the balls to get a puff off a joint during Midnight Rambler!

The appearance of the “Godfather of Chinese Rock” gave this concert more political resonance than any recreational drug use or profanities could. The 44-year-old singer Cui Jian whose music was embraced by the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, joined the Stones for Wild Horses. As a man whose public appearances have been closely monitored by the authorities even since, he could no doubt appreciate Keith Richards pithy remarks for the Chinese audience, “Its good to be here. Its good to be anywhere.”

Start Me Up
Youve Got Me Rockin
Oh No Not You Again
Wild Horses w/ Cui Jian
Rain Fall Down
Midnight Rambler
Gimme Shelter
Tumblin Dice
This Place is Empty Without You (Keith)
Happy (Keith)
Sympathy for the Devil
Miss You
Its Only Rock and Roll
Paint it Black
Jumpin Jack Flash
Cant Always Get What You Want

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