Monday, April 05, 2010

Bob Dylan discovers forbidden city in Beijing

The Chinese authorities have decided that they don't want Bob Dylan playing Beijing. Or, for that matter, Shanghai. His China tour is thus off.

Apparently the Chinese government heard he'd let his music be used in ads for the Co-Op, and concluded that sounded a little too much like socialism for them to be comfortable with him turning up.

Whatever the actual reason, Dylan has scythed off a whole slew of other dates:

The verdict scuppers Dylan's plans to play his first dates in mainland China. The singer, who plays around 100 concerts a year on his Never Ending Tour, had hoped to extend a multi-city Japanese leg with concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong. All these would now be called off, Wu told the newspaper.

"With Beijing and China ruled out, it was not possible for him just to play concerts in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan," he said. "The chance to play in China was the main attraction for him. When that fell through everything else was called off."

I'm not sure that quite makes sense - "yeah, I really fancied playing Beijing so somehow organised a date in Seoul to make it happen"? It's not like Dylan's putting on a U2 style epic, and surely once the stuff has made it to Japan you might as well take it to Korea? Wouldn't the dates in China have been the more expensive part of the jaunt, given that there's less rock and roll infrastructure there - wouldn't axing those two dates make the others more lucrative?

And besides: allowing the Chinese government to effectively deny the people of Hong Kong and South Korea a gig they'd like to see? Is Dylan really sure he wants to play along with that?