Bob Dylan doesn't understand all the fuss about his tour last month in China.
In a brief letter posted Friday on his website, http://www.bobdylan.com, the singer-songwriter disputed reports that he had originally been denied permission to perform in the country or that government officials had censored his playlist.
"As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing," Dylan wrote. "There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."
In a column published April 9, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd criticized Dylan for not singing such protest anthems as "The Times They Are a-Changin,'" and "Blowin' in the Wind." Dylan, she wrote, "sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash and left."
Defenders of Dylan noted that he did perform one of his greatest protest songs, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," along with such biting classics as "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Ballad of a Thin Man." He opened his shows with "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking," which includes the lines: "I'm gonna change my way of thinking/Make myself a different set of rules."
With hundreds of songs to choose from, Dylan rotates his set list regularly. According to his website, "Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower" are the songs he is most likely to perform.