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10.25.2010

paperdoll's china tour 2.0 blog: shanghai tv, mtv china, beijing, tianjin


One of my favorite bands, PaperDoll, is currently on tour in China, October 12-29. I've invited lead singer (and former Angry Reader of the Week) Teresa Lee to contribute some guests post chronicling the band's journeys.

The band is making their way through China -- a whirlwind of record-breaking crowds, mobs and super fans -- performing their butts off and loving every minute of it...

PaperDoll were invited to pay the World Expo America Square Stage on Monday and Tuesday -- the biggest stage at the Expo! We performed our butts off and really got the crowd going. So much so that both Shanghai TV and ICS TV showed up to do a story about the "Most Popular Attraction at the Expo." We gained some loyal fans -- some of whom saw us on Monday and paid into the Expo on Tuesday just to see us again!

Usually after shows we stop and sign a few autographs and take photos with fans, but something happened with this crowd. Instead of our usual 2,000 person audience we got at the USA Pavailion stage, we attracted a recording breaking 6,000+ at America Square. At one point I saw from the corner of my eye an adamant fan rushing on stage. As quickly as he got on stage, a husky security guard literally carried him off. I later saw the fan in the audience dancing around again.

After the show, I went to go say hi to people only to find our tour manager Judith ushering me back to the dressing room. She'd been out there with our postcards saying we'd be out in a second and got mobbed by people. She was fine, but had a few bruises and had to get some first aid for scratches.

Security said we'd just have to wait a few minutes for the crowd to thin out, only then we could go outside. It ended up taking about an hour and half to clear. I can't lie... on the one hand I was upset that I couldn't meet people take photos with them, but on the other hand... I was like... Is this really happening? Did our tour manager really just get mobbed? Did we really just to wait an hour for the area to clear so we could leave? AWESOME! I LOVE IT!


So after we got changed and ate, we went around to a few Expo Pavilions. We all agreed that Thailand was our favorite. It was 5D. You go in and there's a kickass 3D movie, it rains on you, plus they filled the air with this refreshing flower scent that is ubiquitous with Thailand. For those of you from Thailaind -- it smelled like those small white flowers people tie to their car rear view windows. A-MaZ-inG!


Hong Kong was cool too with super cute robots.


Not as cute as DJ Robot, but I'm biased.

After our America Square shows (Monday and Tuesday), we flew out to Beijing on Wednesday for a show at Yugon Yishan. MTV China came out to do an interview with us backstage before the set. Before it airs nationally, they posted up some cool photos on their Sina page (Chinese Twitter)! Phil from MTV said my Chinese accent was very Taiwanese and did a really funny impression. I wish I caught it on video! The gig was awesome! We love Bejing!


The next day, we drive out to Tianjin. It was supposed to be a two hour drive, but it ended up taking three and a half hours. There was so much construction going on that the driver's GPS couldn't keep up with the blocked off roads and new one-way streets. We made at least 2 dozen Uturns and drove over at least 5 different bridges. We ended up arriving at 6:30p; an hour and half late, but right in time for sound check.

We're greeted by Wang Hui (or William) -- the owner of Riff Livehouse. He has super long metal band hair and beard. Which is fitting because he's in a metal band. We start plugging in for our set and as Patrick (guitar) plugs in the voltage converter for my in-ear microphone, sparks go off and all the lights on stage go dark. $hit!

William and Patrick scramble to find another one. And after some creative MacGyver electrician work Patrick figures out how to power everything we need to be powered.

After a quick dinner of friend rice and vegetables, we change backstage and the place starts filling up. It's a fun Friday night crowd in Tianjin; after work young professionals and students. When we start playing everyone is sitting down, but after a couple of songs, Chip's kickass drum solo, and some fun ripping on the Beijing soccer team, people are on their feet dancing and jumping. It totally made our nights!

We ended up selling out of all our merch; t-shirts, CDs, buttons... all of it gone!

William was an awesome host. We all agreed that the best club owners are musicians. They treat you with such kindness. I think they just get how hard it is sometimes on the road and try to take care of you as much as they can. That little bit of empathy makes a world of difference.


It's late and everyone's pretty tired. I'm packing up my gear when I hear a loud BANG! I turn around to see Patrick's petal bag ripped in half and his pedal board on the floor... We're going to have to find a few one before our flight tomorrow night. So, we tape up Patrick's pedal bag with a touring band's best friend... duct tape. Chip (drummer) has used it to repair bass drums. I've used it to tape up ripped dresses.

So, after goodbyes to our host and his wonderful staff, we step outside the club to find the entire city covered in the thickest fog I've ever seen. Our driver pulls out to the highway very carefully since we can only see about 2 meters in front of us. We finally get to the major interstate after an hour only to find a police barricade. They had to close down the highway 'cause the fog got so thick there were a dozen car accidents.

The driver had to drive down the wrong side of the highway to a dirt road. At one point, we were surrounded on three sides by very large trucks. It was the most alert 3 hour drive I've ever experienced. Patrick (guitar) and Steve (bass) were fast asleep, but Chip (drummer) and I were silently freaking out.

We get back to the hotel a little past 3am. Everyone passes out pretty much right away.


Check out the next day (Thursday) is at 12noon. Our flight is at 7p, so we have a few hours to check out Beijing. We make our way to bakery for breakfast. Chip (drummer) gets what he thinks is a corn muffin, but he takes a bite and discovers it is hallow inside with a bit of red bean. Poor Chip, he always orders the wrong thing.


After breakfast, we hail cabs to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. There are so many cute babies! I know I'm biased, but I cannot get enough of adorable Asian babies. Especially when parents dress them up in cute hats and outfits.


After a week straight of Chinese food, the boys and I enjoy some KFC. I get a vegetable soup! It has seaweed, mushroom, and carrot. Delicious. I'm a little sad that KFCs back home don't have this. So after a quick bite, it's off to airport for a flight back to Shanghai.

We're on the flight now... they just played a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" on what sounds like a Peruvian Wind instrument -- you know the kind they have in Times Square. We land at 9pm and will sleep in Shanghai before taking at 1pm bus tomorrow to Hangzhou where we're performing at the West Lake Festival. Sometime between now and then, I have to find a new electric voltage converter that won't spark and blow a fuse.