Bob Dylan's actual attachment to the political ideals he sings about has always been a little hazy; he's usually had some skeptics to balance out his fans. The sixty-nine-year-old's concert today in Beijing, however, may just have handed some serious material to the skeptics.
News came through in early March that Bob Dylan was to be allowed to perform in China for the first time. The protest songster perhaps isn't the most natural match for a country so keen on censorship. But who can blame a musician for trying to reach out?
Unfortunately, it looks a little bad when Dylan blithely performs for fans and no less than two thousand attendants produced by China's Ministry of Culture--which is very likely turning a profit on those seats, according to The Telegraph's Malcolm Moore--only days after artist Ai Weiwei was seized by the authorities, the most prominent dissident to be taken into custody in a recent crackdown. As Glenn Mott, managing editor at Hearst and former Fulbright lecturer in journalism at Tsinghua University tweeted prior to the concert: "bustin out Times They Are a-Changin & All Along The Watchtower? Or will it be 'I used to care, but things have changed.'"