By Tom Bannister
Global superstar, ex-director of Watford football club and rocket-man Elton John is no shrinking violet. Performing in Beijing’s MasterCard Center, Elton is said to have dedicated his concert Sunday evening to the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The respect is clearly mutual, Ai and John met up together before the concert and in a tweet Ai said: “I’m in love with him, although we only spent less than ten minutes together. He’s sincere and generous.”
Elton’s gesture is reminiscent of Bjork’s performance at her 2008 concert in Shanghai, when the Icelandic singer famously chanted ‘Tibet, Tibet‘ at the end of the song, “Declare Independence”. She received widespread criticism from both the Chinese government and the public, and in the aftermath of the saga, foreign acts performing in China were put on a much shorter leash.
It will be interesting to see if, and how, the Ministry of Culture will respond to this one.
Update #1: “Global Times critical of Ai Weiwei and Elton John bromance“.