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Southeast Asia Gigs Fall Victim to Terror Scare

Concert tours to Southeast Asia have become the latest casualty of recent bomb blasts in Bali and the Philippines with veteran jazz guitarist George Benson and rock groups Red Hot Chili Peppers and Oasis canceling shows.

“George Benson did cancel some dates that he had lined up for Indonesia,” promoter Nigel Peters said on Tuesday.

“It’s obviously a direct relation to the Bali bombing. That’s the only reason this decision was taken.”

A bomb attack at a nightclub on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali on October 12 killed more than 180 people, most of them Australian. Ten people were killed and almost 200 wounded in subsequent bombings in the Philippines.

The United States has since warned of possible attacks on U.S. interests in Indonesia and urged its citizens against travel to the huge Muslim archipelago. Britain and Australia have extended similar travel warnings to much of Southeast Asia.

American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers was due to perform in Bali in December but said on its Web site the show was canceled “due to (a) state department travel advisory.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers also canceled a Manila appearance but shows will go on as scheduled in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia.

British rock group Oasis said on Monday it was pulling out of concerts in Manila and Singapore citing the “recent terrorist attacks both in Bali and the Philippines.”

Oasis did not want to perform under the “extreme security precautions,” an Oasis spokesman said.

“The situation in this region is already depressing enough with all this news of bomb blasts,” said 20-year-old Singapore student and Oasis fan, Darren Lim. “Now we don’t even have any real, live music to offer some relief.”

But not all artists were avoiding the region.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra put on two shows in Manila over the weekend.

“We are absolutely going according to schedule,” Eric Latzky, director of public relations, told Reuters on Tuesday from Hong Kong where the orchestra is performing.

“There are security concerns anywhere in the world today,” Latzky said. “We take precautions and we continue to tour.”

The orchestra moves on to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore next.

Multiple Grammy award singer Chaka Khan (news) will perform at a private charity function in Kuala Lumpur on Friday and India’s number one actor, Shah Rukh Khan, will keep his November dates for two back-to-back appearances in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

“He doesn’t think there’s any reason to fear for his safety,” said Raj Bhatt, promoter for Khan’s Malaysian show.

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