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Megadeth’s First Show in China Censored

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Asia Life

Megadeth’s First Show in China Censored

The thrash metal band is not the first to find itself restricted by Chinese censors.

Megadeth’s First Show in China Censored
Credit: Flickr/Ted Van Pelt(bantam10)

The thrash-metal band Megadeth–formed in 1983 and led by former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine–ended its first show in China a little early. The Beijinger reported that the band’s first ever show in China lasted about an hour. The show reportedly contained more instrumentals than usual and ended abruptly.

According to The Beijinger, an hour into the show the band performed one of its staples, “Peace Sells” from their 1986 sophomore album “Peace Sells…. But Who’s Buying.” After the song, Mustaine reportedly waved to the crowd and said “Thank you for leaving so that we can come back and play again.” Tickets for the shortened Beijing show reportedly cost between 680-1,280 RMB (roughly between $100 and $200).

The Beijing show was the band’s first concert in China, coming three years after a 2012 concert in the city was canceled. According to the band the 2012 show was postponed “due to issues with the show license for the venue” but was not rescheduled.

Mustaine confirmed, to a degree, rumors that the Beijing show was reined-in by Chinese censors. Ahead of the band’s second China concert–in Shanghai on October 8–Mustaine commented on the Beijing show via Periscope, live video streaming app:

… Looking so forward to seeing you guys tonight and everybody in Japan and onward until we get back home in mighty United States. Show before last was a little interesting because of the lyric content. We had to play some songs instrumentally and some songs we just had to plain avoid. But in the end love of music always conquers love of power…

Thrash metal is hard and fast, a subgenre of metal that often takes aim at the establishment, thematically drawing on themes of war, death, and politics, featuring extensively technical guitar solos. The songs played as instrumentals at the Megadeth Beijing show (noted on this unofficial setlist) included “Skin o’ My Teeth” (about a failed suicide attempt), “Dawn Patrol” (a short intro piece featuring the line “Awakened in the morning/To more air pollution warnings”), and “Poison Was The Cure” (about drug use).

Born in the 1980s, thrash metal was developed and popularized by four American bands: Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. Although the genre–and the bands which performed it–faded in popularity by the late 1990s. Megadeth and other such bands still draw crowds around the world, even across Asia where they are less known and have only been able to tour more widely in the past decade. Tokyo has been a staple stop of metal bands for years, but touring in China comes with more restrictions–and not just for metal bands.

Bon Jovi had shows in Beijing and Shanghai canceled in September allegedly because Chinese authorities were sent pictures of Bon Jovi using the Dalai Lama as backdrop in a previous show. According to Shanghaiist, a Taiwanese fan claims he sent the Chinese government the pictures in order to score Taipei a second night of Bon Jovi (it worked). He’d gotten the idea after Chinese authorities canceled a Maroon 5 concert scheduled for September in Shanghai, allegedly because the band’s lead singer tweeted a happy birthday message to the Dalai Lama over the summer.

Megadeth’s remaining tour dates in Asia include a headline spot on the second day of the annual Loud Park metal festival in Saitama City north of Tokyo this weekend (Slayer is headlining day one), a show in Okinawa, and several concerts across Australia and India.