Stones to play for millionth fan at Tokyo Dome

Stones to play for millionth fan at Tokyo DomeTOKYO (Reuters) – Sixteen years after the Rolling Stones first toured Japan, the venerable British rockers are set to play this week for the one-millionth fan to hear them in the cavernous Tokyo Dome.

The band will kick off the Asian leg of their "A Bigger Bang" world tour on Wednesday at the 50,000-capacity baseball venue, its 23rd appearance there since 1990.

"I can’t believe we are playing to the millionth people in Japan this week," singer Mick Jagger told a news conference in Tokyo on Monday. "That’s going to be very exciting to me."

The group is scheduled to play a total of five concerts in Japan, including two at the Tokyo Dome.

Jagger, known as a cricket fan, expressed interest in the World Baseball Classic, whose championship game this week pits Japan against Cuba.

"The two teams are really different," Jagger said. "Japan is a very professional team and Cuba is an amateur team."

Asked later to predict the outcome, Jagger diplomatically forecast a victory by Japan.

The Rolling Stones, known for chart-topping hits like "Satisfaction" and "Honky Tonk Women" during a career spanning more than 40 years, are back in Japan for the first time since 2003, after tours in 1995 and 1998.

Jagger said he looks forward to playing for the first time in Sapporo, on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, and revisiting Nagoya in central Japan.

Guitarist Keith Richards said he hoped see Japan’s renowned cherry blossoms.

Jagger added, "Yes, this time we’re going to actually see the cherry blossom — the transient cherry blossom."

After Japan the band, including drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Ron Wood, plans to make its mainland China debut in Shanghai on April 8. Two shows planned for China in spring 2003 were canceled because of the SARS epidemic.


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