Bob Dylan plays Beijing as Chinese collectors turn to music memorabilia

Croaky folker Bob Dylan makes his first appearance in mainland China on Wednesday.

The 69-year-old plays Beijing on Wednesday and Shanghai on Friday. The gigs demonstrate China's softening attitude to foreign performers, despite the furore caused by Bjork's declaration of support for Tibetan independence at a Shanghai concert in 2008.

Dylan's appearance in China also reveals the strong appetite for Western music in China - investors in memorabilia too are increasing in number.

China's status as the world's second largest economy and its growing number of people looking to make alternative investments suggest that rising numbers of items could be heading east in the near future.

Certainly music memorabilia auctions are well frequented by Asian bidders.

While government officials have stated that Dylan will have to adhere to a pre-arranged set list, those in the audience the night Dylan first went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 will know he is not a man to be dictated to.

Joan Baez is unlikely to receive an invite following her 1989 protest song China

Last year, the handwritten lyrics to Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' sold in New York for £267,400. It is not known if the protest song is on the Chinese government's banned list.

A Dylan signed sheet music to his 1965 track On the Road Again, taken from his first electric album, Bringing it All Back Home, is currently available for a fraction of that price, as is a signed photograph of the star and a set list.


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