Posted by Joel Martinsen on Monday, August 31, 2009 at 6:01 PM
A young, Nanjing-based musician recently uploaded a bootleg of a 24-minute, four-song set that Cui Jian and his band played back in 1989:
According to what Cui says in the clip, this was his third visit to the Square, but the first time they played.
There's a little bit of a tuning problem at the start, but then things get going with an energetic concert that has the listeners singing along to "Once Again From the Top" and "Rock and Roll on the New Long March" (both from the album Rock and Roll on the New Long March). After the second song, there's a bit of disagreement over whether they should be playing at all: one voice is concerned about the state of the hunger strikers.
The crowd disagrees, Cui says, "Most of the hunger strikers are over here, and I've got to be responsible to them." Then the band launches into "Like a Knife" (which, like the fourth song, was included on the 1991 album Solution, 解决).
Before the next song, voices in the crowd reassure the band that they're OK with the boisterous music. Cui says, "If there's one student who doesn't want me to perform, I won't; it's about the safety of every person.....I came with about a 20% hope of performing, and 80% of just coming to see you all."
There are shouted requests for the fourth song, "A Piece of Red Cloth." Prior to singing, Cui reads off the first verse, and people in the crowd call for everyone who has a piece of red cloth to put it on.
* * *
Fang Kecheng, a Beijing-based blogger who linked to the recording, recently wrote about a contestant on this year's Super Girls talent competition who sang another Cui Jian song, "Nothing to My Name":
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Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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