April 6, 2011

"'I know his songs from karaoke, but I'm really not that familiar with him,' said advertising executive Yin Yang, 24."

"'Still I think this was a historic concert and I'm glad I've seen him.'"

Bob Dylan played the Worker's Gymnasium in Beijing today.

He purportedly submitted his play list to government approval. How absurd for the government officials to imagine that concertgoers would understand the lyrics, which are hard to hear in concert even when English is your first language and you already know the lyrics from the records. What's the big deal about Dylan's "protest" songs in China anyway? They're almost entirely aimed at the United States.

ADDED: A reader emails:
My wife has booked a few acts into China and had to spend a few days translating American standards (let's say the Pinna Colada Song) into Chinese for the lyric permission. It is true that the nominal reason is to reject anti-revolutionary sentiments. But I think the real reason is to grease the palms of the literal 15 different minor officials you have to get to sign off on booking a concert tour.

37 comments:

chickelit said...

Next thing you know they'll be making pilgrimages to Zimmy's birthplace in Duluth: link

edutcher said...

Well, if he's truly an artist, his work will transcend time and distance (and I think some of it just might).

PS First Wong Wei and now Yin Yang? Where do the boys in the Forbidden City get their people - Central Casting?

WV "menoil" What women like to rub against.

Sturt said...

"They're almost entirely aimed at the United States. "

And not just these United States - but a United States that's an artefact of history, like Bob.

chickelit said...

edutcher wrote:
WV "menoil" What women like to rub against.

More specifically, Donald "trump l'œil"

LordSomber said...

Stuck inside a mobile home with a Memphis high school band.

madawaskan said...

How absurd for the government officials to imagine that concertgoers would understand the lyrics, which are hard to hear in concert even when English is your first language and you already know the lyrics from the records.

Or the fact that it's Bob Dylan....who's almost always unintelligible-so much so that I can't even figure out why.

The nasal?

The whine?

The mumbles?

madawaskan said...

And why the hell is it that every atheist I know is into Bob Dylan?

traditionalguy said...

Dylan sings, sort of. The big deal is his written lyrical poetry that expresses a point of view that will never go out of style.

madawaskan said...

I should amend my last comment to read-

Every *old* atheist I know...

Oclarki said...

It's strange for athiests to be so into him as he's a professed Christian now. What's more strange is the the Dylan of the 60s would have been apalled to submit his set list to the authorities in any Amercian city. I can see why the US government is so afraid of China, but really does anyone else feel the need to kowtow to them? Hitler and Stalin must be wishing they would have learned to sell trinkets to the West, because that apparently is enough to let off the hook for all sorts of opression and mass murder.

Phil 3:14 said...

How absurd for the government officials to imagine that concertgoers would understand the lyrics, which are hard to hear in concert even when English is your first language and you already know the lyrics from the records.

Well it has gone the other way

Maybe they're worried Dylan is on a secret mission for the US to musically "get back"

madawaskan said...

Probably *proof* that they can't understand him.

heh.

pbAndj said...

Yin Yang sounds Taoist to me, not atheist.

madawaskan said...

Are you suggesting that they have us by the trinkets?

There is this whole theory about-

Mutually Assured Dependency...

But you are probably right-they've got us by the "trinkets" and they have certain "surpluses".

Ren said...

Pretty solid setlist, actually. Always nice to see Beyond Here Lies Nothin.' And opening with a song from Slow Train Coming is always exciting, at least in the eyes of this Dylan fan.

http://www.boblinks.com/040611s.html

Trooper York said...

Big deal. If he has to run his set list past Steve Wynn then he can run past Hop Sing.

This over-rated fraud sold out a long time ago.

You know that a real artist like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga would never do this.

Trooper York said...

Bob Dylan is to popular music as Sherman Hemsley is to television sitcoms.

I mean he is still hanging around but who cares?

Chuck66 said...

Mr 60s counter-culture is gladly submitting to gov't censorship?

There is a school of thought that Bobby D isn't really a leftist. But instead a genious businessman. He played the music and said the words that made him popular with whatever why the winds are blowing (while never giving up his image of a lefty folk singer). He has made hints of this in interviews where he seemed annoyed by the hard left of the 60s.

Trooper York said...

Why didn't they talk to the public information officer Yada Yada Yada?

ironrailsironweights said...

Apropos of a recent Dylan-inspired thread, if Hurricane Carter were Chinese he wouldn't be a free man today. He would have gotten a bullet to the back of the head within a few weeks of his crime.

Peteriro

Trooper York said...

If Bob Dylan would have been Chinese he never would had that motorcycle accident at the height of his productivity and could have produced a lot more hit records.

Of course he would most likely been killed in a bicycle accident delivering takeout.

chickelit said...

@madawaskan:
Your 1:03PM, LOL!

Coketown said...

Bob Dylan is on the list, right ahead of Mary Tyler Moore, of people I thought were dead but aren't.

madawaskan said...

chickenlittle

Thanks... man I am in such a mood.

I think I strangled "Alex" on another tread-because I hurt myself typing..jeebus.

******

Trooper is here-

gawd hopefully I can go into lurk mode-I think I've got three different battles going...

phx said...

He gave the PRC a second encore - very generous. Taiwan only got the one.

~~Your dancing child with his Chinese suit~~

madawaskan said...

*tread* should read thread-now I'm typing all French... Gawd.

BarryD said...

"I know Bob Dylan's songs, but then at the same time, I don't. They're dark, yet light, simple, yet complex," said Yin Yang.

phx said...

There is a school of thought that Bobby D isn't really a leftist. But instead a genious businessman. He played the music and said the words that made him popular with whatever why the winds are blowing (while never giving up his image of a lefty folk singer). He has made hints of this in interviews where he seemed annoyed by the hard left of the 60s.

I'd suggest: get a little more familiar with his body of work.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Stuck inside of Beijing with those Hong Kong blues again....

ricpic said...

Everyday Yin Yang is just one g short of the whole megillah.

Smilin' Jack said...

How absurd for the government officials to imagine that concertgoers would understand the lyrics....

They don't care if anyone understands that gibberish. The important thing was to make Dylan kowtow to them. The important thing is to make sure America understands its new place in the world.

Carol said...

"get a little more familiar with his body of work."

Actually Chuck is right according to one of the bios I read. Dylan busted his ass to sound like Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and absorbed and regurgitated all the folk stuff going around at the time. But before that he'd wanted to be an Elvis-style rocker. He would do whatever it took. The music biz wasn't about to take and groom him to be another Fabian, so he called the shots himself.

To his credit, he wrote very few protest songs - what, Masters of War and Blowin' in the Wind?? And he was soon embarrassed and bored with the protest shtick.

And when he went electric in 1965 - well surely there was no business reason for that move, eh?

But that's not to say he wasn't great, either. Both things can be true at the same time.

Oligonicella said...

madawaskan --

"And why the hell is it that every atheist I know is into Bob Dylan?"

Incorrect. I can't stand him.

madawaskan said...

Oligonicella

I admire your guts saying that around these here parts...

The Crack Emcee said...

"Yin Yang, 24" is a great band/artist name - like Prefuse 73.

J said...

Dylan may have written some 60's schtick, but it's not all schtick.

Either way, Dylan product is a bit too subtle and complex for the AA gang. Stick to Larry the Cable Guy, AAsters, or yr favorite Rush Limbozo broadcasts.

William said...

Dylan was probably heartened to hear that an advertising executive was taking an interest in his music. The real money no longer lies in rectord sales, but in concerts and endorsements. Even better an executive like Yin Yang can understand the ambiguity and nuances that lie at the heart of his work like a subtle pun about a lie at the heart of the work.