"As the bands played, the East Berlin crowds chanted "Gorby, Gorby" and "Down with the Wall," until they were silenced by East German security forces who beat them with batons and made scores of arrests."On June 9, 1987, an article in the Orlando Sentinel reported,
A brief disturbance broke out Saturday, but on Sunday, when rock fans gathered too close to the wall to listen to the Eurythmics, hundreds of club-wielding police fought about 3,000 fans, many of whom shouted 'Pigs!' and 'The wall must go!' To prevent a repeat performance during Monday's Genesis concert, police erected barricades and stood shoulder to shoulder across the street."Three days later on June 12, Reagan repeated the challenge. It should be noted that the wall did not come down the next day. In fact, it wasn't until November 9, 1989 that the East Germans opened the Berlin Wall.
...below the fold
More Music, More Problems for East Germany
...and a powerful video from The Boss
In 1988, with the wall still standing, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd scheduled shows in June. The East German government approached West German officials and tried to shut down the festival claiming that patients in a nearby hospital might die. The pressure worked and promoter Peter Schwenkow had to adjust the staging.
"But I had already sold 30,000 tickets to Pink Floyd -- the concert couldn't be cancelled," Schwenkow said. "Even though we had to make sure that we played very quietly and directed our sound toward the west, it was Pink Floyd's decision, during sound check, to turn the speakers toward the east and blast East Berlin with (Pink Floyd hit) 'The Wall.'The East German Stasi planned counter concerts on their side of the wall to "draw rebellious music fans away from the border." It didn't work. According to German news source Spiegel,
"As it was, the distraction never happened. Instead, as feared, there were violent clashes between East German music fans and police, many of whom were in civilian clothes, mixing into a crowd of thousands. As eyewitness, Alan Nothnagle, a translator living in Berlin, writes on his Salon.com blog: "We noticed 'inconspicuous' men in civilian clothes, slouching on street corners in groups of three, eyeing the passers-by. The reason was no secret: somehow everyone knew that Michael Jackson was giving a concert in front of the Reichstag that evening, just a few hundred meters from where we were standing â¦ Hundreds, soon thousands of young people congregated to hear the music. The Stasi agents also multiplied... We never heard a note of music that night, but soon voices arose in the crowd calling 'The Wall must go!' and 'Gorbachev! Gorbachev!' Now the plainclothes Stasi men came alive. They hurled the young people to the ground, shouting 'What did you say? What did you say?' and hauled them off by the collar into side streets where police vans were waiting to bundle them off to Stasi headquarters."One month later on July 19, 1988, Springsteen played in the East German velodrome, performing to 160,000 East German fans in a government approved show. Only 100,000 had purchased tickets. According to Reuters, The Boss "stopped halfway through the three-hour show for a short speech:
"I want to tell you I'm not here for or against any government. I came to play rock 'n' roll for you East Berliners in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down."It was not Reagan's sole idea to tear down the wall; many came before him and after him. It was the music fans that were beat down by the Stasi. It was the musicians on the ground at the wall, instilling the hope of freedom to those on the other side. It was the power of music that stormed the gates.
After Springsteen spoke to the East Germans in their native language as translated above, he played this song...