Bob Dylan makes China debut
Counter-culture legend Bob Dylan made his long-awaited China debut Wednesday after finally getting approval to bring his charged songs of protest and struggle to a nation where dissent is muzzled.
Dylan played the Worker’s Gymnasium in central Beijing to a warm reception from a mixed crowd of Chinese and foreign expatriates who brought the music icon out for a pair of encores after a roughly two-hour set.
Dylan heads next to Shanghai on Friday and then Hong Kong for two more shows next week on a tour commemorating 50 years since his first major performance on April 11, 1961.
After Dylan was reportedly banned from playing here last year, China’s culture ministry last month gave the green light, but only if his songs were vetted by censors.
Dylan is best known for the politically-inspired songs of his early career, including The Times They Are A-Changin’ and his antiwar anthem Blowin’ in the Wind — neither of which made it into his Beijing set.
However, dressed in a grey panama hat, yellow shirt and black suit, Dylan did play some of his edgier tunes, such as the protest song Hard Rain, but he made no comment on China or the significance of his appearance here.