China Cancels Bon Jovi Shows

Bon Jovi was scheduled to play its first concerts in China next week -- in Shanghai and Bejing. Yesterday, the band announced the concerts were cancelled for "unforeseen reasons." The Financial Times reports it was because the backdrop to one of the band's songs at a 2010 concert included the image of the Dalai Lama.

Seriously? That has to be the song "We Weren't Born to Follow", which as I've written several times (see here for one), is one of my favorite all time videos. I've probably watched it 100 times and I've seen the band perform it twice, in 2010 and 2013. It is both inspirational and empowering.

While Dalai Lama is not shown in the official video, the band did include his image when performing the song live during its 2010 Circle Tour. Here is an image from the performance in Tokyo. [More...]

The Dalai Lama was on the screen for all of five seconds, flanked by real time live shots of Bon Jovi singing. His image was one of dozens of people that flashed on the screen while the band played the song.

The official video (shown above) featured Martin Luther King, Jr, Bobby Kennedy, Princess Diana, sports figures, handicapped athletes, and a host of other inspirational figures, including a 5 second portrayal of the iconic image of a man standing in front of a tank at Tiannanan Square.

I wonder if the Tiannanan Square image wasn't part of China's reasoning. Certainly the video has been seen by millions more people than those who attended their 2009 and 2010 concerts.

The song's messages are freedom, resist, stand up for what you believe, don't give in, don't apologize and hold on to your dreams. Some background images playing during the 2010 live concerts:

The lyrics:

This one goes out to the man who mines for miracles
This one goes out to the ones in need
This one goes out to the sinner and the cynical
This ain’t about no apology

This road was paved by the hopeless and the hungry
This road was paved by the winds of change
Walking beside the guilty and the innocent
How will you raise your hand when they call your name?

We weren’t born to follow
Come on and get up off your knees
When life is a bitter pill to swallow
You gotta hold on to what you believe
Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow
And that saints and sinners bleed
We weren’t born to follow
You gotta stand up for what you believe
Let me here you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah

This one’s about anyone who does it differently
This one’s about the one who curses and spits
This ain’t about our livin in a fantasy
This ain’t about givin up or giving in

We weren’t born to follow

I don't know why China cancelled Bon Jovi -- it's hard to believe a fleeting image of the Dalai Lama or the man in front of the tank would cause such a drastic reaction. Plus, there's no excuse for waiting until days before the shows to cancel it. The shows were announced in June.

Here's Bon Jovi performing "We Weren't Born to Follow in Germany" in 2009 at the official celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

The band has announced it will refund ticket purchases. I think the Chinese government should pay.

Upcoming shows are proceeding as planned this month and next in Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Taipai and Israel.

If you want to see someone (besides me) get excited over Bon Jovi, check out this clip of Al Gore introducing him at the Live Earth concert in New Jersey in 2007. I've never seen Gore so passionate about anything:

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  • Display: Sort:
    Going out on a limb here (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Sep 10, 2015 at 06:10:48 PM EST
    probably not where J expected this thread to go.

    That is The Cost... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 11:17:59 AM EST
    ...of not adding an open threads for days.

    if anyone wants a new open thread (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 01, 2016 at 04:06:12 PM EST
    all they have to do is email me. I try to watch for when they get full, but sometimes I don't have time or forget. Reminders are welcome.

    LOL! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Sep 10, 2015 at 09:11:05 PM EST
    Ya think?

    you are right and I am (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 01, 2016 at 04:02:35 PM EST
    cleaning the thread

    Totalitarian governments, first and foremost... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 10:14:42 AM EST
    ...have to steal from their populations anything approaching a healthy emotional/intellectual life, since that can arouse passions and rebellious thoughts/feelings, which are what a totalitarian government fears more than anything else. No group arouses those passions like free-thinking artists.

    The end.

    Why is this news? (none / 0) (#1)
    by ragebot on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 08:04:30 AM EST
    China is a communist dictatorship with a massive secrete police force that goes to great length to suppress any free expression the state views unfavorably.

    By the by the same goes for Cuba only on a smaller scale.  For those that are a little behind the curve know that the largest hotel chain down island is owned by the Cuban military.  Cubans are paid the standard $US30 a month to work there and tourist are charged standard tourists rates with the Cuban military pocketing the difference.

    There are a lot of Cuban people who are some of the most friendly folks in the world.  But to meet them you need to get away from the tourist spots.  Cruising on the South Coast of Cuba in a private boat gives a totally different view of Cuba than a place like Havana where 12, 13, 14, year old girls solicit openly.  The sex trade in Cuba is worse than in Phuket.

    It's the odd mind (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 08:52:09 AM EST
    that can turn a post on Bon Jovi in China into a soliloquy on sex in Cuba.

    At least (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 09:00:25 AM EST
    it wasn't about Hillary being finished.

    At (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by FlJoe on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 09:33:04 AM EST
    least until her secret emails reveal the trysts she had with Bon-Jovi, sharing teen age hookers in Cuban Military owned brothels.

    At Tax Payer Expense... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 10:56:55 AM EST
    ...involving Cuban cigars and a Clinton.

    Drinking (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 11:40:11 AM EST
    Cuba Libres and singing Karaoke with the Castro Brothers..... "Ooh, she's a little runaway"

    The year: 1977: (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 12:31:01 PM EST
    Bonnie Raitt: My Little Runaway

    The harp player is (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 01, 2016 at 06:43:50 PM EST
    the Late Great Norton Buffalo..

    He was a beast -- in a good way, I mean.

    I think he switched harps like four times during that solo..


    I don't wanna hear it.. (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 01, 2016 at 06:37:35 PM EST
    not when I see old men poking through dumpsters and underage hookers every day of the week on Lyell Ave in my beloved city here in our vaunted "Land of the Free"..

    Who put the smothering economic embargo on us to create the desperate conditions so that that should be the case here in U.S?


    ... never seen Gore so passionate about anything (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 09:27:03 AM EST
    Gotcha.  Gore-Bon Jovi in 2016!

    (and I've got a campaign slogan...)

    He's Stiff & He Rocks!

    Of All Things to Chastise China About... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 09, 2015 at 11:09:40 AM EST
    ...I would say cancelling a concert you have no plans of attending has to be around 5 from the very bottom, beating out items like the color of their flag and their weird names for everything.


    Thank you J (none / 0) (#17)
    by ZtoA on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 02:51:25 AM EST
    J, thank you for these cultural posts! I, personally, do not like the audio and I find the videos confusing (and hate all the pop up ads). However I really appreciated you posting the written lyrics. And I think I really appreciate how you love this music and these 'messages'.

    "Officials' in China are also rather horrible towards another artist - Ai Weiwei. I saw an exhibit of his "Golden Heads of the Zodiac' recently here in the US. I saw it with a friend who is expert (a couple of masters degrees and decades of study and interest) in zodiacs/mythologies/cultural 'tales/'music' from that area (and many others too). She really brought out the deep feeling and meaning of Ai Weiwei's work out for me.

    You do too, in these posts, and they open up new worlds for me, even tho I really do not 'relate' to the audio/music of this band. No worries tho. I like reading your words more than I like listening/looking at the music/videos. For me, what you say (and get from these art forms) is more communicative than your sources (the music and videos). Thank you for your blog and cultural posts!

    He is talking nice re Beijing (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 02:13:23 PM EST
    but upset the British government initially denied him a visa.

    Yup. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dadler on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 10:51:57 AM EST
    Good to touch base, mi amigo. Been busy and distracted. And my g-damn lower spine is crumbling into dust. It's actually horrifying my doctor more than me. When he looks at my MRIs, he can't figure out how I could be walking, much less flexible enough to show him a couple of yoga stretches. But it's bad, I can tell by the pain and nervy weirdness in my legs. Though I'll fight it to the end, surgery is coming in the next year probably. Sigh. At least all my other ridiculous bodily maladies and bullsh*t are gone. My sacral vertebrae are my only worry left. Ahem.

    Hope you're well, my man. peace.

    Since Jeralyn is moving (none / 0) (#23)
    by fishcamp on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 01:04:57 PM EST
    I doubt she cares that we turn the Bon Jovi/China topic into an open blog, which we've already done.  In case I'm wrong I do have one Bon Jovi song on my iPod shuffle, along with 281 other rock, reggae, jazz, blues, classical, and even disco tunes.  Lotta oldies, and it's great for the gym, since the Republican weight lifting bullies can't bother me with my headphones on.  

    I Don't Think... (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Sep 11, 2015 at 01:25:24 PM EST
    ...there is one post actually address the topic at hand.  So I will.

    Seems like Jon decided to make lemonade out of lemons:

    Bon Jovi has been frozen out of China, apparently because of the band's homage to the Dalai Lama, but its lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, will still have a few chances to try out the Mandarin-language song he's been practicing.

    The group has added a second show in Taiwan this month, the event promoter Live Nation announced on its Facebook page on Thursday. The Sept. 29 date in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, will follow an earlier scheduled performance on Sept. 28 in the city.


    Get the F out:

    Fans in Taiwan will most likely hear Mr. Bon Jovi's rendition, in Mandarin, of the love song "The Moon Represents My Heart." The ballad, which he sang in a recent video, was made popular by the Taiwanese pop star Teresa Teng.

    Not my speed, but here it is, and I am guesing the Taiwanese will really dig it.