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Despite Censorship, China Run A Big Success


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Mike's shows in China are the first visit for him to the country since Linkin Park's massive stadium tour of five countries in 2015.


Three shows in total are scheduled, with the first two in Beijing and Shanghai having been completed already and with Chengdu to follow. As expected, Mike had to change his setlist to fit with what the Chinese government was asking, but the hits to the show actually aren't as big as you'd expect. First of all, Crossing A Line is missing completely, which seems silly since A Line In The Sand was performed in 2015. Are lines banned now? But seriously, where's the harm in that song? It isn't political at all.


Anyway, we assume the Hands Held High intro to Kenji was dropped too because Hands Held High was required to be axed in 2009. And lastly, the songs are censored as you all know. But besides one song, a verse of another, and the cuss words, China is getting the full show.


With that out of the way, let's talk about how great the run through China has been so far, with these sold out (or very close to it) crowds and shows.


At the Beijing show, we saw Good Goodbye return with the chorus and second verse, which was a first on the tour so far. Mike also gave an incredible speech about Chester on In The End:

"By the way, just because these guys are up here with me, I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten about my band mates in Linkin Park - I love those guys. I LOVE those guys... I'm grateful that I've got friends that will support me in that way. That's one of the reasons I wrote certain songs on the record in certain ways: because I wanted them to know I care about them. On that note, can we make some noise for Chester Bennington, please?"

One thing that distinguished me from him was that... I started the band with a friend of mine named Mark Wakefield - a friend from high school - and we would make music in my bedroom in my parents' house... Fast forward to the band becoming Linkin Park, it was always the case that I was never the guy who wanted to be up here in the spotlight. I didn't dislike it... but Chester was a guy who grew up knowing he wanted to be a rockstar... He was born to do it."
After the show, fans stayed in the venue another hour to sing Linkin Park songs. Wow. This show saw one of the most passionate groups of fans in a while, solidifying our belief that China is home to one of the largest Linkin Park fanbases in the world.
Moving on to the Shanghai show, the tour continued in great form with fans outside singing One More Light as a tribute to Chester before the performance. To start the encore, the fans clearly demanded more Linkin Park just like Beijing. Mike obliged and gave them Faint acapella which was a first and the fans just exploded. This reminds us of when Mike did some improv rapping to start the encore at the last Fort Minor show in 2015. Could this catch on and we see more LP verses to open the encore? We'd certainly be a fan.
If anything, these two Chinese crowds, and actually the entire Asia Tour as a whole so far, is really showing the immense support and love the world has for Linkin Park and Mike. The fanbase is cheering them on hard and wants to see them succeed through this. No matter what happens, LP has built one of the largest fanbases in music and fans are glad to honor Chester at any given moment, especially when Mike comes to their country with his tour. Everyone is supporting them in a big way and would love to see them return, if they choose to do so. Imagine a Mercedes China LP tour in the future with these crowds...
Along with that, Mike's singing voice is improving each and every show, with each tour stop having its own unique highlights. Roads Untraveled, from Bangkok, for example, is incredible. Seriously, we'd love to see this with LP one day. The shows are an absolute blast AND it is encouraging fans to travel to see more than one because of the set changing each night in a unique way, undoubtedly reminding us of Linkin Park's epic 2017 European Tour.
Mike is meeting fans everywhere he goes, from the airports and train stations to the official LPU M&Gs at each show, and is certainly feeling the love from the fans.
Lastly before we wrap up, if you haven't seen the new Sorry For Now bridge that debuted in Bangkok which we didn't really cover much, check that out. Mike has dropped the demo verse that he did in New York City and Hong Kong and has started having Dan perform a drum solo on the bridge. Remember, the first performance in Los Angeles was Mike performing Chester's rap verse. He might continue to experiment with the song as the tour goes on. It's smart to use the world tour to work up the songs and experiment with how to play them just in case Linkin Park decides to play again sometime.
More soon. Tour coverage always on our social media and on the site. Setlists for everything here. Enjoy your shows if you're headed out to see Mike!
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I love the demo verse on SFN, but I also recognize how cool it is for Mike to show some love for Dan Mayo on the drums and give him a moment in the spotlight. Maybe he could just do both. Extend it twice. Make SFN the BIO of Mike's shows. :P


Also: " I LOVE those guys... I'm grateful that I've got friends that will support me in that way. That's one of the reasons I wrote certain songs on the record in certain ways: because I wanted them to know I care about them."


Mike didn't play CAL for whatever reason that the song had to be dropped, but I like how he referenced it. I'm sure he could be referring to multiple songs, but Mike is on record as saying that CAL was written specifically about his fear that the members of LP would feel left behind when he released his solo album and went out on tour without them. So the song was dropped, but he still made sure to get the message of the song across anyway.

Edited by Justin
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China is EXTREMELY uptight about any kind of occult-type references in any kind of media. Crossing a Line was almost 100% certainly banned due to the "I've got demons inside me" lyric.

Edited by Astat
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It looks like Crossing A Line made it into the setlist based of off Mike's last Instagram story. I don't know if he had it on "paper" the last two show and just didn't play it or he really played it at this show and there were other reasons for the abstinence of Crossing A Line



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