The mass media take on Bob Dylan’s first concert in China is that he didn’t sing his protest songs. Of course, the mass media wouldn’t know a protest song unless it agreed with their consensus. Anyway, here’s the setlist (from http://boblinks.com/040611s.html).
It was not just any two songs to which Beijing objected, either. Blowin’ in the Wind was the civil rights anthem that had established Dylan’s reputation when it first appeared on his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, back in 1962, and Desolation Row was the marathon poetic masterpiece that had climaxed Highway 61 Revisited three years later.
When, in fact, Dylan played Desolation Row in Shanghai! And, in the “wouldn’t know a protest song even if it bit them” category, there is Dowd in the New York Times.
A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
Even by the media’s criteria, this is certainly a “protest” song and more of a protest than Blowing in the Wind or The Times They Are A-Changin’. Moreover, since A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall is also a more complex and substantial song, it is not one of those popularized by others.
“As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. ” from To my fans and followers