2011/02/16

Bob Dylan to launch Asian tour in April

TAIPEI, February 15, 2011 (AFP) - Legendary American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan will kick off tour of Asia in April with his first ever performance in Taiwan, organisers said Tuesday.

Dylan, the reluctant voice for disaffected youth in the 1960s, will perform in Taipei on April 3, a prospect that has led thousands of fans to rush for the ticket booths, according to the Taipei-based Very Aspect Culture Group.

"In the 24 hours since we started sales Monday, over 40 percent of the scheduled 10,000 tickets have been snatched up," said Edie Chen, an executive at the company, adding prices went as high as Tw$8,000 ($272).

Although he has never visited before, the 70-year-old American icon is loved in Taiwan, defying a trend that has seen Western music lose market share to Mandarin songs over the past 20 years.

His fans reportedly include Morris Chang, chairman of the world's biggest contract microchip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., but he is an idol for the very young, too.

Chen said a 400 tickets carrying a price tag of just Tw$800 ($27), and therefore favoured by cost-conscious young people, were snapped up within 10 minutes.

"That really surprised me," she added.

Dylan's songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements.

The Asian tour will also take Dylan to Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, Chen said, adding that it was not yet certain if he would also perform in China.