When it comes to foreign artists playing in China, we have no shortage of big-budget stadium shows: Beyonce this past winter, Celine Dion in April, and last week’s Chivas/Red Cross Black Eyed Peas earthquake benefit (Planned as a Chivas party, the show had to be revamped as a fundraiser at the last minute in order to secure the proper event licensing. Whilst Chivas and the Peas are each said to have given substantial donations, lots of freebie tickets were given away to the media and government officials; how much the concert itself benefited earthquake victims is anyone’s guess.)
But there is a paucity of foreign performers who actually, you know, play musical instruments (Kenny G being a notable exception). Where are the Blonde Redheads and the White Rabbits? As Michael Chugg pointed out in a discussion of live music at Music Matters Asia, British and American indie acts like The Kooks, The Wombats and Cold War Kids are flying over Asia to play sold-out gigs in Australia and New Zealand. So why aren’t they stopping in our neck of the woods?