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The Rolling Stones in China
A Bigger Bang - April 2006

The arrival     -     The press conference     -     The show     -     Links

The Stones in China! The biggest band in the biggest country! It may have taken them 44 years but finally they are here. These pages will tell you everything about the Rolling Stones first ever visit to mainland China, including their arrival, the press conference, the show on Saturday at the Shanghai Grand Stage, and what the fans think!

The arrival

The Rolling Stones flew in from Nagoya Japan to Shanghai China Thursday afternoon April 6, for their first ever performance in mainland China on Saturday. See pictures from the arrival below.

Three jumbo jets with 262 tons equipments on board

A part of the stage sets of the Rolling Stones which finished the performance in Nagoya was sent off from Chubu International Airport (Aichi Prefecture Tokoname City) to Shanghai that was the following performance ahead on the morning of Apr 6th. Sets are 262 tons in total. It is carried out one by one into three jumbo jets only for the chartered freight until Apr 7th.

It was piled up by 38 ten-ton tracks, and the machine parts such as the amplifier, speakers, and lightings carried to the central part airport before dawn of Apr 6th and was crowded after the performance of Nagoya dome at the night of 5th. Customs clearance was finished, 40 people including 25 foreigner staff packed one after another, and, first of all, about 100 tons were fully loaded to the first plane that toward Shanghai.

The second plane and the third plane heads for Sydney respectively on Apr 6th and 7th. The customs clearance trader who takes charge “Isn't it the first time in Aichi area to send off such amount of this on only two days? There is also as many as 50 container stage sets sent off with the ship besides the airlift.” he speaks.

The runway of 2,900 meters or more is necessary so that a jumbo cargo plane of full loading may take off according to the airline company. There are 3,500-meters runway in the central part airport though there are only 2,740-meters Nagoya airport.

The press conference

The Rolling Stones held a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai, China on Friday April 7. Around 200 journalists, photographers and radio/TV reporters attended. The press conference was done as a photo session followed by half an hour of questions and answers, translated from/to Chinese.

Tour manager Michael Cohl did a short opening session of five minutes, where he said that the Bigger Bang Tour would go on until later this year, and it would be the most attended Stones tour ever, with the number of fans attending the shows would pass 4 million with the Shanghai show. The Copacabana Rio show has been accounted for an estimated crowd of 2 million people. He also stated he did not believe they would make it to China but now they are here and they made it. "It's been a long and difficult process."

Mick Jagger did most of the talking at the press conference on behalf of the Stones. In fact Michael Cohl said "Mick will tell you about a few surprises that will make the Shanghai show unique". Charlie saind nothing, and he was never challenged. He was probably happy with just being there, and not being bothered with questions. Ronnie made a few short comments. Keith left most of the talking to Mick, but when asked about how they felt about coming to China for the first time ever, Keith said: "I feel like Marco Polo!"

Mick said he would be doing a duet on stage with a named Chinese rock star. The show will be broadcasted on CCTV. When asked how they felt about the fact that the lowest priced ticket had a price of approx. 20% of an average Chinese income, Mick said the show was free on TV.

Question: You make more money that even and you are so vital. What's the secret?" Mick: "We just enjoy what we are doing." And a great side comment: "And you can't fake it!"

When asked if the Stones are the same now as they were in 1965, they said three of them are the same, but as Mick wisely said: "We are older but we are obviously much wiser."

When asked about songs being censored, Keith said: "May be we should do these songs instrumental"... Then Mick added a comment saying: "This time we hoped there was no censorship but it was and they added another song." Mick said he was pleased that the ministry of culture protected the morals and standards of the Chinese people. And they have 400 other songs to choose from, so it is not a problem, according to Mick.

UK newspaper Guardian thought they had a killer question when they asked how they felt about playing the largest country in the world in what must be the smallest venue ever. Sure he had not done his homework, and Mick simply said: "It was the largest venue we could get. And we just played Radio City Music Hall in front of 6,000 people, I don't think you get anywhere there with your irony."


General IORR comments: It is a fact that this show is of more interest to the international press and the English-spoken Western parts. Shanghai is one of the largest cities in the world, and China with 20% of the entire world's population will probably not notice that the greatest rock'n roll band is playing in front of 8,000 fans at the Grand Stage on Saturday April 8. But it is a first time for everything. The reports and the experiences from the first show will tell the Chinese and the Stones a lot, and who knows, may be China will be a permanent country to visit on all future Stones tours.

The show

Set list and reviews coming soon after the show on Saturday evening. Shanghai is 6 hours ahread of Central European Time, and 13 hours ahead of EST i.e. Eastern Standard Time (US East Coast), so then you know roughly when the show details will be available in your time zone.

The Shanghai Grand Stage is a smaller sized arena with space for around 15,000 peoiple, but witrh the Stones they use a stage setup that is designed for a crowd of approx. 8,000 people only. It will be a very special show indeed.

See the show reviews from Shanghai

News links

The IORR magazine

For exclusive reports and unique high quality pictures from the Rolling Stones tour and more see the IORR magazines.

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