The Rolling Stones in China

Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Pudong, Shanghai, China  (Getty Images)Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Pudong, Shanghai, China (Getty Images)

For over 30 years the Rolling Stones had tried to play in China, and at last they made it. On 8 April 2006 they gave a concert in Shanghai, the largest city in China, but it was not as lively as most Stones shows.

The four men – who are now quite old – sang and played to about 8,000 people, most of them foreigners and rich Chinese. The cheapest seats cost $40 and the most expensive $400 (the official price) or $600 (the price on the black market). Most Chinese earn a lot less than $400 in a month.

The concert, which lasted under two hours, was very tame and the audience very quiet. China is not famous for freedom of expression, and even rock music is censored, so the Stones were not allowed to play "Honky Tonk Woman", "Brown Sugar", "Beast of Burden" “Rough Justice” or "Let's Spend of the Night Together”. The reactions to the show were mixed: some people liked it, but others said that the Stones are out of date.

Rock music came to China later than it came to Europe, but it is now an important part of the cultural scene and has millions of followers.


The information in the following sentences is not correct. Rewrite them so that they show the right facts.

  1. The Shanghai concert was very exciting.

  2. All sorts of Chinese people attended the concert.

  3. The ticket prices were very low.

  4. The audience made a lot of noise.

  5. The Stones played “Brown Sugar”.

  6. Everyone enjoyed the show.

  7. Rock music came to China before it came to Norway.

  8. Rock music is not popular in China.

 Activities for the links below

1) Go to the first website below. Read the report from the concert, which includes the words and phrases in the  first list. Match these with expressions meaning the same in the second list.

1. hip
2. vibe
3. pirated
4. cutting-edge
5. decadent
6. press conference
7. characteristic
8. expatriate
9. nationwide
10. renaissance

a. advanced
b. obtained illegally
c. media briefing
d. rebirth
e. popular and fashionable, especially for young people
f. not acceptable by “respectable” people
g. typical
h. all over the country
i. exciting lifestyle
j. living abroad

2) Now turn to the BBC site, where you will find an article on the Rolling Stones’ concert in Brazil shortly before the Shanghai gig. Write five sentences in which you contrast the two concerts with regard to their content, the settings, the audiences, the ticket prices and the media coverage (which was very limited in China).


For today's China, Stones concert is only rock 'n' roll (Australian News),20867,18764475-27656,00.html

Rolling Stones hold giant Rio gig (BBC)

Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 24.03.2009

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