The Rolling Stones opened their first ever concert in mainland China on Saturday with the classic hit, "Start Me Up."

The veteran rockers played to a packed house at Shanghai's 8,000 seat indoor stadium, where the audience was overwhelmingly foreign.

There was little sign of the fan frenzy that has followed the band on other stops on their current "A Bigger Bang" tour, however, demand for tickets had driven up the price to 5,000 yuan (US$624) on the black market.

Chinese rock pioneer Cui Jian who was to perform with the band said before the concert the show was a "milestone" for him and all rock fans in China.

"It is a big moment, I will never forget this," said Cui, who's songs were anthems for student protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In a reminder of the authoritarian communist government's cautious attitude toward the influence of western pop culture, The Stones were told not to perform five of their biggest hits because of suggestive lyrics.