Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
The Concert that Did Not Change the World but
on 21 February 2014
Live Aid 1985, Woodstock 1969, the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 1964 – more than just musical performances. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band East Berlin July 19 1988?
The author thinks so. He was not there but he interviewed the organisers and many people who attended and who still remember that evening. He also spoke at length to Bruce Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau. He did not get to talk to the man himself, or any of the band.
It was some occasion, for sure. Western rock stars rarely came east and none with the stature of Springsteen. 300,000 came to see him. He played for 4 hours. Springsteen was and is a great performer and he did not disappoint. It is easy to see why this performance has long lived in the memory. Did it cause the the Wall to fall?
The author certainly thinks so and he cites a handful of cultural commentators who agree. He makes much of a speech that the Boss made about bringing down barriers. The speech actually consisted of two sentences which most people could not hear. It was audible to Egon Krenz [East Germany’s last leader], and it did not bother him. Realistically the fact that the East German government approved the concert indicates how much was changing. Moreover, the concert did nothing to dampen the feeling that change had to come. For sure – a glittering event in a year of immense change. It is not surprising that those who were there cannot forget it. It confirms just what a great performer Springsteen is. Bruce remembers July 19 fondly as one of his best concerts. I can't accept Erik's pleas, however. It was a sign of changing times. It did not change the world.
The book is short and there is a fair bit of repetition, too. There are numerous hyperlinks to Youtube videos, though not of the concert itself. There are a few photos of the event, though, and of his interviewees.
The history of the fall of the Eastern States is skimpily told. It really is one for fans of Springsteen - including myself.