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Hey, Hey, Hey, the Stones Play China

April 09, 2006|From the Associated Press

SHANGHAI — The Rolling Stones' debut in China had all the trademarks of their concerts: Mick Jagger strutting, Keith Richards hammering out the chords, and thousands of fans singing along to classics such as "Satisfaction."

Much of the crowd, however, was not Chinese. The Stones have yet to find a major following among the country's 1.3 billion people.

Still, the band tried its best to tie the show to its geographical location, with Jagger shouting out greetings in Chinese and welcoming China's rock pioneer, Cui Jian, on stage to trade verses on "Wild Horses."

"Dajia hao ma?" -- how's everybody doing? -- Jagger asked the crowd.

"It's nice to be here for the first time," he added. "I'm really excited."

The show had another local element as well: An order from Chinese censors not to play five of the band's hits -- including "Beast of Burden" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" -- apparently because of their suggestive lyrics.

The Stones kicked things off with "Start Me Up" and proceeded to tear through almost two hours of classic rock.

Earlier, Jagger dismissed questions over the small size of the Chinese audience as "just the way the market works in a lot of Asia."

Despite the relative lack of Chinese faces in the crowd, local audience reaction seemed largely positive, if a little preoccupied with the age of the band.

"So old, and yet he can really perform," said Song Jianghong, referring to Jagger, who at 62 is just one year younger than Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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