Bob Dylan plays it safe at Vietnam concert
Apr 11, 2011, 4:36 GMT
Hanoi - US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan left out many of his most famous anti-Vietnam War songs during his first concert in the Communist country, members of the audience said.
The 69-year-old omitted numbers at Sunday's gig that were taken up by the anti-war movement in the 1960s and '70s, such as Blowin' in the Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin'.
The tracks were also reportedly absent from a gig he did in Beijing Wednesday and one in Shanghai Friday, part of the musician's tour of Asia.
'A long list of songs was submitted to authorities as part of the licence, and the licence was accepted,' said Brett Davis, spokesman for the promoters of the concert, Saigon Sound System.
Brad Adams, executive director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, criticized Dylan for allegedly letting the Chinese and Vietnamese governments 'tell him what to sing.'
'He has a historic chance to communicate a message of freedom and hope, but instead he is allowing censors to choose his playlist,' Adams said.
'This sends a strong message to his Vietnamese fans that the Communist Party's reach even extends to the heroes of America's civil rights era,' the rights campaigner said. 'Dylan should be ashamed of himself.'
The musician performed in an 8,000-seat venue, but according to some media reports, only half of the tickets were sold.
Tickets cost about 50 dollars, about the same as the average monthly wage in Vietnam.
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