A Bob Dylan Set List Sanctioned by China

There was no cry of “Hello Beijing!” from 69-year-old Bob Dylan when he performed Wednesday night at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing (pictured). Also missing, per an entertaining dispatch from LA Times special correspondent Benjamin Haas, were several of the troubadour’s best known songs:

Conspicuously absent from the program were “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Dylan’s set list had to be sanctioned beforehand by the Ministry of Culture, which in its formal invitation decreed that he would have to “conduct the performance strictly according to the approved program.”

In an effort perhaps to stay on the good side of Chinese authorities, Dylan has made himself unavailable to foreign reporters covering the tour. His promoter, Live Nation Asia, was equally circumspect, refusing to return any of Haas’ calls.

This may all be Bjork’s fault. Her cries from a Beijing stage in 2008 of “Tibet! Tibet!” are seen as having led to the current mountain of stage bureaucracy.

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.