Bob Dylan to play first China shows: promoter

SHANGHAI, March 4, 2011 (AFP) - American music legend Bob Dylan will play in China for the first time in his illustrious career in two April concerts timed to mark his 50 years as a performer, Beijing-based promoters said Friday.

The news comes a year after a Taiwan promoter said its bid to take Dylan to China was scuttled after the Beijing government refused to approve shows by the writer of some of rock's most iconic and politically charged songs.

Dylan, who will be 70 in May, will play in Beijing at the Workers' Gymnasium on April 6 and then hold a concert at the Shanghai Grand Stage in that city on April 8, promoters Gehua-LiveNation said in a statement.

"These Bob Dylan concerts are destined to be one of the year's major tours and a musical event of depth, grace and greatness," the promoters said.

Tickets go on sale next week. Prices start at 280 yuan ($42) and reach 1,961.411 yuan for VIP tickets. The amount represents the date of Dylan's first official New York gig, on April 11, 1961.

Taiwan-based Brokers Brothers Herald tried to bring Dylan to China last year. But those dates fell through with the promoters blaming China's culture ministry for not approving the concerts.

Culture ministry officials declined at the time to comment on the Taiwan promoter's account.

A Gehua-LiveNation official said the ministry had approved Dylan's April shows.

Dylan is best known for the politically inspired songs of his early career, including "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and his anti-war anthem "Blowin' in the Wind".