On Sept 12th the band did a press conference and went to the stadium for a sound check. That’s when we were able to see just how large a venue we’d be performing in. Originally we had thought the venue was an indoor sports arena holding about 40,000. We were awestruck when we saw the actual stadium venue. We had equipment problems at the sound check which we couldn’t resolve until the next day.
On the 13th we performed a five song set. We had no idea the stadium would be sold out, as the main event was not until the following night on the 14th. There may have been as many as 70,000 people on the 13th, as the stadium hold 60,000, but there were over 6000 performers and people the stadium was full beyond capacity as not only every seat was filled, but you could not walk in the isles as they were also full.
The 14th was the big day. This event was televised live to several cities in China for a total viewer ship of over 50 million people. It was also to be re-played to the entire country (1.3 billion) later in the month and also to western markets including the USA in early October. For this show, we were moved to the prime time, right in the middle of the show. Our start time was about 9:30, which was truly the best time slot given any performers. We performed from the center stage, which came up from the ground and was all lit up. It was a moment. Earlier in the day we met with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who was attending the event that evening and in Dalian for business. At lunch we were invited to a banquet by the city of Dalian for the performers. The food was grand.
On Sunday the 15th we bathed in the glory of our newfound stardom as we took a tour of the city. We had a wonderful lunch banquet where we celebrated and gave many toasts and thanks. In the afternoon we drove along the beautiful coastline. The scenery is hard to imagine unless you were there, but suffice to say it was exotic and wonderful. Scott went up in a motorized hang glider over the city. We then shopped in a very nice, unique Chinese mall. In the evening we were taken to a night club where we drank and sang Karaoke.
On the 16th, some of the band set up for the evening show, while others rehearsed and went to the health club for sauna, massage and relaxation. Some of us slept in for the first time on the trip. In the evening we played our own two hour show at the City Walk Theater in Downtown. The capacity was 1200 and we nearly sold it out. The performance was taped for a later television special. We found a couple newspaper articles on the bands festival performance and had our traveling assistant Diana interpret them for us.
The 17th was a travel day, flying from Dalian to Beijing and then to Shanghai.
On the 18th we did a photo shoot with one of the top photographers in Shanghai. We desperately needed some updated photos, so this was great timing. The band was also modeled for a Chinese clothing company who will use the photos in their advertising. Each band member was given one or more pieces of clothing to model in and keep. Our drummer Tim got lots of attention from the photographer and did an extra modeling session the following day. We then did some shopping in the evening. Prices were great and the band bought lots of stuff. That evening we were invited to dinner by some prominent Shanghai businessmen who are working on bringing the band back to Shanghai very soon. This was truly the best meal of the tour and fit for a king (and queens). There was a traditional tea ceremony and each of the over 20 main courses had ingredients that included tea. (green tea or red tea). Each main course was a piece of art work. You didn’t want to eat it for not to disturb the beauty, but it was irresistible once you took a taste. For many of us, this may have been the best meal in our lifetime. It was another occasion to celebrate the very best tour we’ve ever experienced.
On the 19th we reluctantly flew back to Los Angeles. Tim, Nikki, Michael, Scott, Ron, Dana and Mandy would never be the same. As with everything in China on this trip, the flight was on time and flawless. We said goodbye to our host Benjamin and his assistant Diana, as they stayed in Shanghai to prepare plans for our next visit. China Rocks!
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