A timely performance of The Wall

by Andrew Gumbel
Toronto Globe and Mail
July 20, 1990

EAST BERLIN - The Wall is back in Berlin - not the concrete barrier that divided the city for 28 years but the rock extravaganza by Pink Floyd.

Hundreds of musicians, actors and even Soviet and British soldiers will perform The Wall tomorrow at a bizarre venue - the former death strip where border guards once had orders to open fire on East Germans trying to flee to the West.

The acclaimed rock opera by Pink Floyd's former leader Roger Waters will be performed on a grand scale.

"Nobody's ever thought about doing a concert between two countries in a prohibited military zone as this area still was when we started planning," producer Mick Worwood said. "We've created a city here."

More than 150,000 people will attend the $8-million concert featuring a symphony orchestra, Soviet and British military helicopters, a Soviet army marching band, Hell's Angels motorcycle riders, Waters' new group The Bleeding Hearts and a clutch of guest musicians including folk-rock singers Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison.

The 200-foot-high stage near the Brandenburg Gate has dominated Berlin's skyline for weeks.

Few traces remain at the site of the Berlin Wall, opened last November and since mostly demolished. But the set includes a wall of its own, made from 2,000 white polystyrene blocks, as a backdrop to the tale of rebellion against authority and alienation told by the music.

Tomorrow's concert is the most elaborate of several events planned this summer to celebrate the end of the Cold War division of Berlin.


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