Linkin Park returning to rock China

Band to encore in Shanghai, make first trip to Beijing

BEIJING -- Linkin Park will return to China after the Olympics, indicating a possible thaw in the frosty Games-period live entertainment arena.

Listings for the shows in Shanghai and Beijing appeared quietly Wednesday in the local edition of Time Out magazine, on concert site and on the Web site for promoter and ticket agency Emma Ticketmaster. The announcement follows news this week of seven shows in China by Avril Lavigne, including Shanghai and Beijing in October.

Linkin Park's November show in Shanghai set a record by becoming the first international act to sell out Shanghai Stadium.

The band will hit Shanghai again Oct. 12, before their Oct. 19 show in the Olympic city at Workers Stadium. Both of Linkin Park's shows are in support of Music for Relief, with proceeds going to relief efforts for the Sichuan earthquake victims. Both shows will be supported by local bands.

Since a pro-Tibetan independence outburst by Bjork at a Shanghai concert in March, major foreign acts have been scarce. Black Eyed Peas performed a benefit gig in Shanghai in June, but otherwise, stages have been silent.

One observer saw it as a return to normal after the tension during the lead-up to the Olympics.

"This indicates two things," said David Wolf, CEO of Beijing-based media and technology consultancy Wolf Group Asia Ltd. "First, that promoters are hopeful that the Olympic frost on Beijing's cultural life will have melted by the end of October. And second, that there are people in Beijing's government who are worried about the city's expensive, iconic sports venues lying unused after the Games."