The Rolling Stones have returned to China for the first time since their debut there in 2006, headlining the Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena last night (March 12) with a setlist altered due to government censorship.
The band had been set to play the country for the first time in 2003 but the gigs were cancelled due to the Sars crisis. When they did play there, in 2006, songs including “Brown Sugar”, “Honky Tonk Women” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” were banned by the Chinese Ministry Of Culture.
Last night the former two songs were off the setlist again, with Mick Jagger telling the crowd that “Honky Tonk Women” was “vetoed” by the authorities. Speaking before the show to local media, he had confirmed that the band had to submit their lyrics to Chinese authorities for vetting, as is custom for all foreign bands playing in China.
They played Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China that does not fall under the same censorship rules, earlier in the tour.
The band’s 1971 song “Dead Flowers” was brought into the Shanghai setlist as was “Street Fighting Man”. The latter song had been chosen by fans on the Stones’ social media channels.
Mick Taylor is joined them in Shanghai for “Slipping Away”, “Midnight Rambler” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.
The tour continues in Singapore on Saturday.
The band have just announced European festival dates for the summer.
The Rolling Stones played:
‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’
‘Get Off My Cloud’
‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)’
‘Street Fighting Man’
‘Doom And Gloom’
‘All Down The Line’
‘Paint It Black’
‘Start Me Up’
‘Sympathy For The Devil’
‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’
‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’