Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Bon Jovi China Tour: Shot Through the Heart
This Romeo is bleeding, but you can’t see his blood.
Jon Bon Jovi – who recently made his Mandarin-singing debut in an online video — was slated to perform in mainland China for the first time next week with his eponymous band, much to the anticipation of certain members of the China Real Time team. But a ticket-selling platform halted sales for the tour’s Beijing and Shanghai stops on Tuesday without warning. That was followed by an early-morning statement by the promoter confirming the concerts were cancelled.
The reasons weren’t immediately clear.
“We regret to announce that Bon Jovi’s 2015 concerts planned for September 14 at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Cultural Center and September 17 at Beijing’s MasterCard Center have been cancelled due to some reasons,” read a statement posted by promoter AEG China on its official Weibo microblog early Wednesday.
“We will issue refunds to all fans who have purchased tickets. A formal statement and details on the refunds will be released later today. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment,” it added.
The Beijing and Shanghai tour dates had been removed from Bon Jovi’s website Wednesday morning.
The seller, online ticket platform Damai.cn, initially told worried commenters on its website Tuesday that the tickets were on hold temporarily and urged patience, saying more details would be coming shortly. On Wednesday, it responded to disappointed fans that “the reason for the cancellation isn’t clear yet.” The website was still promoting the Bon Jovi tour on its homepage, however.
China’s Ministry of Culture, which oversees foreign musical acts in China, didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on whether Bon Jovi’s shows were still on. A spokeswoman for concert promoter AEG said the company didn’t yet have any confirmed information.
The confusion follows a string of cancellations by authorities of performances by Westerners at the 11th hour, leading to speculation online that the New Jersey rocker was the latest casualty.
Earlier this summer, when U.S. band Maroon 5 dropped a Shanghai concertfrom its tour without explanation, fans surmised that the reason was a tweet by the band’s keyboardist, Jesse Carmichael, linking to a photo of an event he attended to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. Beijing condemns the Dalai Lama as a separatist, while the exiled spiritual leader maintains that he seeks only greater autonomy for Tibet.
Similar moves have led to the axing of performances by other groups, including Linkin Park in 2011. The band played in China earlier this year without incident.
The reasons for cancellations aren’t always clear-cut. British pop group Oasis said in 2009 that authorities had scrapped its China tour due to singer Noel Gallagher’s participation in a Free Tibet concert more than a decade earlier. A Chinese cultural official blamed the cancellation on the concert promoter’s financial problems.
In online discussions, some Chinese music-industry watchers speculated that the latest cancellation was linked to unspecified recent comments by Mr. Bon Jovi on the spiritual leader. Others pointed to a 2010 Bon Jovi concert in Washington, D.C., which included a video of figures including Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama.
China Real Time wasn’t able to track down any photos of Mr. Bon Jovi and the Dalai Lama together.
Damai’s website and China’s Weibo microblogs were inundated with messages from angry fans who demanded a response to the rumors swirling around the show.
“Bon Jovi’s concert got canceled?” wrote one Weibo user. “Give me an explanation! I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a luxurious way, but now it’s all gone!”