Shanghai’s Expo is nearly over. Despite a certain amount of pessimism pre-event, the Expo has actually received a majority of positive feedback, certainly from the local population and most of the people involved. Shanghai has been the recipient of much governmental largesse as artists are flown in from all over the world at great expense, play to (rather too frequently) sparse crowds, but then descend on Shanghai and give a free show or two to people in the know. The huge crowds that have populated the even huger site have been exposed to all manner of crazy foreign “art” and the artists themselves have more often than not played to huge crowds of incredulous but appreciative Chinese at the various outdoor stages around the site.
That’s not to say that any kind of value for money quotient has been achieved. The huge missed opportunity to actually promote the majority of these artists properly in China has been nothing short of a tragedy, with bands, performance artists and the like in China for a single performance with no onwards Chinese or Asian touring and absolutely zero PR in local press. And the carbon footprint…
Still, Shanghai certainly will be poorer for the end of Expo, and this region could be in for a bit of a shock come 2011. There has been a considerable rise in expectations vis-a-vis cheap or free entertainment for local promoters and audiences alike, and while we have seen a certain fatigue amongst both parties in recent times, there has been a huge amount of varied entertainment to keep people interested all year long.
Of course, these numbers will drop off a cliff when Expo ends, leaving us back at 2009 levels.
One place where the action promises to keep up this heady pace is the Mercedes Benz Arena nee Shanghai Cultural Centre. We wrote about our thoughts about this AEG/ venue operator hook up back in March HERE, and we interviewed the GM Guy Ngata over the summer HERE.
And so they are off. In the first three months of operations, they have 5 shows for Wong Fei already sold out in November and 4 of 5 Jacky Cheung shows sold out in one day last week. Tickets are extremely expensive for Wong Fei (2,000 – 2,500RMB to sit on the floor) – you can see the ticket information HERE and the floor plan HERE.
Jacky Cheung’s shows are marginally cheaper and will run for 5 days across Western New Year. You can find ticketing info HERE.
In total, AEG have 29 shows booked from the end of Expo which is a great start. On the other hand, we know that these two artists are about as big as it gets for Chinese audiences and, particularly in the case of Wong Fei, are a once in a decade opportunity. It will be interesting to see how 2011 unfolds.