The 69-year-old musical legend was granted permission to give the concert at the Worker’s Gymnasium in central Beijing after having his music vetted by censors, though some of his more well-known protest songs – including ‘The Times They Are A-Changin” and ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ – were dropped from his set so as not to offend the country’s communist government.
However, the two-hour performance saw the 5,000-strong crowd entertained by the folk singer’s classic tracks, including ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ and ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.
Audience member Zhang Tian told Billboard.com: “I was a little disappointed that he didn’t sing many of his songs because of the politics. What is the government so afraid of?”
However, the singer’s appearance impressed other fans.
Yin Yang said: “I know his songs from karaoke, but I’m really not that familiar with him. I think this was a historic concert and I’m glad I’ve seen him.”
The performance comes after Bob was refused permission to perform by China’s Culture Ministry – who must approve every concert that takes place in the country -last year.
Dylan will perform in Shanghai and Hong Kong next week as part of a tour marking 50 years since his first major live performance.
Bob Dylan’s China setlist:
‘Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking’
‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’
‘Beyond The Horizon’
‘Tangled Up In Blue’
‘Honest With Me’
‘Simple Twist Of Fate’
‘Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum’
‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’
‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’
‘Highway 61 Revisited’
‘Spirit On The Water’
‘Thunder On The Mountain’
‘Ballad Of A Thin Man’
‘Like A Rolling Stone’
‘All Along The Watchtower’