Rolling Stones – Shanghai Banging (Exile EXM-016A/B)

Shanghai Banging (Exile EXM-016A/B)

Shanghai Grand Stage, Shanghai, China – April 8th, 2006
Disc 1:  Opening, Start Me Up, You Got Me Rocking, Oh No Not You Again, Bitch, Wild Horses (with Cui Jian), Rain Fall Down, Midnight Rambler, Gimme Shelter, Tumbling Dice, band introduction, This Place Is Empty, Happy
Disc 2:  Sympathy For The Devil, Miss You, It’s Only Rock’n Roll, Paint It Black, Jumping Jack Flash, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Satisfaction
Shanghai Banging is intriguing for the novelty value alone since this is their first show in mainland China.  The Stones initially planned to visit during the Licks tour in 2003 but was canceled over concerns about SARS.  This concert, following on the heels of their five date tour of Japan, is in the cozy Grand Stage with a capacity of 8,000.  Since the ticket prices cost the equivalent of a month’s salary for the average Chinese, most in attendance were foreigners present to see history in the making.  It defeats the purpose of playing in mainland China, but the band can claim at least to have played there.  This is an amazing stereo audience recording picking up every detail of the historic show.  This is one of the best audience recordings to surface from the current tour yet and that alone makes it worth picking up.

The tape begins with the female announcer teasing the audience with “Ladies and gentlemen, The Rolling Stones!…will be on stage in ten to fifteen minutes…thank you for your patience.”  They open with a sluggish “Start Me Up” followed by a more energetic “You Got Me Rocking” and the show hits its stride with the new “Oh No Not You Again”.  The Chinese government forbade them from playing five songs (“Brown Sugar”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Beast Of Burden”, “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and “Rough Justice”) on grounds of morally objectionable lyrics.  “Start Me Up” and “Midnight Rambler” (with the Boston strangler lyrics slurred beyond recognition) were deemed okay for some reason.    “Dajia hao ma?” (“How’s everybody doing?”) Mick says to greet the audience.  Chinese rock star Cui Jian joins in on “Wild Horses” sharing alternate lead vocals with Mick.  His presence is greeted with cheers during the first chorus and he proceeds to the next verse and makes a long announcement in Chinese at the song’s conclusion.

The latter half of the show contains a light version of “Sympathy For The Devil” and a heavy version of “Paint It Black”.  The tape goes through to the final encore and the audience departing the theater.  The packaging is very impressive with effective use of Chinese script and photos from the event pulled from the internet.  And I must say that the Exile label has been releasing very well produced titles.  Their early releases were ruined with excessive mastering and many avoided them.  They have really cleaned up their act nicely and are giving the major Stones labels strong competition.  I doubt whether another label can top this, not even a soundboard would sound this good.  Shanghai Banging has to be in every Stones collection without a doubt.  Good job!

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