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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 10:38 GMT
Stones sorry for 'no-show'
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger on stage
The Rolling Stones had to cancel the original show because of Sars
The Rolling Stones have apologised for missing their concerts in Hong Kong in March, saying they had to pull the shows because of insurance problems during the Sars outbreak.

"We had to cancel our shows because we couldn't get insurance to come in," singer Mick Jagger said at a press conference.

The veteran band are playing two rescheduled shows this weekend as part of a festival promoting Hong Kong post-Sars.

The concerts are part of a festival promoting the city after the epidemic that killed hundreds earlier this year.

The band also had to cancel shows in mainland China and in Thailand in April because of the epidemic. Their new shows are on Friday and Sunday.

The Sars outbreak, a respiratory ailment thought to have come from rural China, caused a tourism slump across Asia.

Guitarist Ron Wood said he was particularly disappointed the band had not been able to play their Beijing and Shanghai shows yet, although they said they intended to play there in the future.

"I want to go to Beijing. I want to see what the mainland is like," Wood said.

Guitarist Keith Richards said he was not nervous about playing the show.

"You've got to be able to throw a fairly curved ball at me to be surprised," he said.

China setbacks

The band have been on the road for more than a year as part of their Forty Licks world tour to mark their 40th anniversary.

The Stones have been unsuccessfully applying for permission to play in China since the 1970s.

When the Rolling Stones rose to fame in the 1960s, China was on the verge of the radical Cultural Revolution, which reviled Western pop culture as spiritual pollution.

The band's music only became available in China after economic and social reforms began in the late 1970s.

When the April dates were being planned, a tour organiser said the government ordered the band to drop four of their best-known songs from their set.

The band were told they could not play Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Woman, Beast of Burden and Let's Spend the Night Together.

Stones HK Sars show row resolved
13 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
'New dates' for Stones in China
04 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Bug halts Stones' China shows
28 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
China 'orders Stones songs ban'
12 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Rolling Stones to play China
02 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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