Barring, say, an avian flu outbreak, Rolling Stones fans in China are finally going to get some--say it with us--satisfaction.
The world's greatest--and seemingly oldest--rock 'n' roll band is on track to make its mainland debut Apr. 8 in Shanghai, exactly three years after having to scrap a series of Chinese gigs due to the SARS epidemic.
Mick and the boys will play Shanghai's Grand Stage, an 8,000-seat venue in the heart of China's bustling metropolis. According to China-based promoter Emma Entertainment, ticket prices will range between 300 to 3,000 yuan, or roughly $37 to $370.
"The Rolling Stones' first-ever concert in China, do not miss it!" hypes the company's Website.
The Shanghai concert is part of the Asian leg of band's ongoing A Bigger Bang world trek. Before hitting China, the Stones will make stops in Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan. From China, the band will continue on to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and Wellington, New Zealand. Advanced tickets for those shows go on sale this week via the Stones' official online fan club.
The Jurassic-era rockers were originally scheduled for two history-making shows in Beijing and Shanghai back in April 2003 as part of their 40th Anniversary Licks World tour. This after years of trying to obtain permission from Chinese authorities to play what had been unconquered territory for the Stones.
To get a seal of approval from the government, the Stones acquiesced to official censors' demands to tone down their act and cut four greatest hits from their set list--"Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Beast of Burden" and "Let's Spend the Night Together"--because the tunes contained too much sexual innuendo for the masses.
Not that it mattered. The Beijing and Shanghai dates, as well as a Hong Kong gig, ended up being deep-sixed not once, but twice, following the outbreak of SARS, the deadly, highly contagious respiratory virus that was then sweeping across the nation. The Stones promised to paint it red on the next go-round.
Lucky for the Chinese, time is on the Stones' side.
Now entering their fifth decade, the Stones' 2005 tour in support of A Bigger Bang (their first studio album since 1997's Bridges to Babylon) was the top-moneymaking tour last year, raking in a record-setting $162 million in ticket sales, according to concert trade Pollstar.
And 2006 is shaping up to be just as busy, if not as lucrative. After providing the half-time entertainment for this year's Super Bowl in Detroit, where they groused about having some lyrics censored by ABC, the Stones headed to South America, where they played a massive free concert on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach in Brazil that drew more than 1.2 million people. That was followed by gigs in Buenos Aires, where a throng of ticketless fans desperate to enter the 50,000-seat soccer stadium rioted, injuring dozens.
For the Shanghai gig, the Stones plan to stick to their original agreement and steer clear of those previously mentioned tunes that the government finds offensive, though why Chinese censors aren't bothered by such gems as "Street Fighting Man," "Satisfaction" and "Sympathy for the Devil" remains a mystery.