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Rock pioneer hopes for late surge
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Cui Jian, the godfather of Chinese rock music, will perform at the Beijing Workers' Indoor Arena on January 5. But weak ticket sales so far might result in a disappointing return to the place where he once blasted open the gates.

Veteran Chinese rock musician Cui Jian promotes his January 5 Beijing concert on Tuesday, December 25, 2007.

In 1986, Cui Jian debuted at the Workers' Indoor Arena with a trailblazing rock show, creating an alternative genre for Chinese music fans.

His comeback two decades later has so far sold only about 5,000 tickets, half of the total seats, the Beijing Evening News reported.

On Tuesday, the 46-year-old rocker met with the media in Beijing to discuss next weekend's show for the first time. He said he felt pressure to satisfy both old and young fans, and if there were fewer people than he expected at the show, he would be "very disappointed."

Fans at the concert can expect to see Cui Jian lead his band in a set chronicling his legendary career, but the singer didn't like calling the show nostalgic. "It's out of my way to get nostalgic," he said, adding that sometimes old stuff can still hold up today.

The concert was announced on short notice, a fact to which its organizer ascribed the unsatisfactory ticket sales. Promotion for a show usually requires one to two months; Cui Jian's allowed for only 20 days.

Tickets, capped at 800 yuan (US$108.8), are being sold for less than other shows held recently at the Indoor Arena. Tickets to Taiwan rock singer Shin's show on December 24, for example, sold for as much as 1,180 yuan.

The organizer is now hoping to see a surge in purchases over the last a few days.

Cui Jian, who is now rarely seen in solo settings, never veers far from the rock stage. He still headlines rock concerts periodically, including this year's Beijing Pop Festival.
(CRI December 27, 2007)

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