Their handpicked opening band, local power trio Car-Sick Cars, had to pull out of the gig thanks to obstacles set up by the Ministry of Culture, which must approve all permits for concerts.
Local English-language publication That’s Beijing conjectured that the move may have been in response to Sonic Youth’s involvement in the Free Tibet movement.
On a blog about the tour, Archie Hamilton, the English-born, China-based promoter who brought SY over, was less clear about the reason for the cancellation.
More enlightening was his explanation of the financial difficulties of putting on these kinds of concerts in China and the fees – legitimate and not legitimate – involved.
The blog can be accessed through the official Sonic Youth Web site.
In related news, Pitchforkmedia.com also reported that Pretty Girls Make Graves had to scrap the entire China leg of their farewell tour because of "miscommunication with promoters."
Apparently, the group could not receive work visas in time for the scheduled concerts.