Friday, August 6, 2010

Springsteen - Chimes of freedom - East Berlin 1988

This clip is from a show Springsteen played at a bicycle track in (what was) East Berlin. It was by far, unless I am mistaken, the largest audience he has ever played: about 160,000 people. I myself would probably tend to prefer a good rock concert in a bar or club, or a hall that holds less than a few thousand, because I think the sound and feel would be much better. However, I'm sure that despite the logistical challenges, this was probably a great concert. I say that for two reasons. 1. Springsteen is known for his stubborn perfectionism which manifests itself with things like marathon sound checks, and attention to all the little details of a concert. 2. More importantly, it must have been, quite simply, a deeply meaningful experience for these East Berliners, still living under Communist rule, to have the opportunity to gather for a classic three hour Springsteen concert.

This song, of course, is Bruce's version of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom." I also found interesting the interview Bruce gives, which the video shows after this song. In the promo material for this show, and on the tickets, Bruce was ridiculously linked directly with American aid to Nicaragua.  Presumably the East German government was responsible.  Before this song, not included in this video, Bruce said this:

"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."

About a year and a half later, the Wall came down.

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