Bob Dylan in China

| 4/13/2011 9:12:55 AM


Paula Rabinowitz had no trouble remembering the first or the last time she saw Bob Dylan before his concert last Friday night in Shanghai. 

            “I was at Newport (Folk Festival) in 1963 when he went electric,” said the Minneapolis woman, a Fulbright Scholar living in Shanghai. “Nobody really booed.”

            As for the last time, it was election night in 2008. Rabinowitz accompanied rock critic Greil Marcus to a Dylan performance at the University of Minnesota. Rabinowitz sat in the fourth row with Marcus, whose daughter was her student.

            “Dylan came out on the stage and announced that Obama had won. People started dancing,” she said.

            Rabinowitz will likely remember the show at the Shanghai Gymnasium for similarly historic reasons. Dylan was permitted to perform in China for the first time only when he agreed to submit a set list to the National Ministry of Culture. The government had expressed concern that Dylan might “offend the feelings” of the Chinese people with protest songs.

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