The longing for freedom: Angela Merkel, Bruce Springsteen and NDR | DW | 06/11/2019 2

The longing for freedom: Angela Merkel, Bruce Springsteen and NDR | DW | 06/11/2019

With an insight into her private life and her intimate world of ideas, Angela Merkel is rarely engaged. In an interview with Der Spiegel, the chancellor now talked about her wandering in the GDR when she was a young woman. "My first long trip was to America, because of its size, diversity, culture, to see the Rocky Mountains, to ride and listen to Bruce Springsteen – it was my dream."

The American rock singer embodies the urge for freedom and self-development of so-called little people to this day. Behind the wall, that desire was even more important. Springsteen's legendary July 1988 concert in East Berlin is legendary – on the Weissensee cycle track. How many people experienced Springsteen lived with his band at the time is questionable. Estimates range between 160,000 and more than 300,000.

His four-hour appearance was "The Boss" with the legendary song "Badlands" from 1978, which says: "You wake up in the night / Wwith fear so real / Spend your life waiting / For a moment it just doesn't come / Well, don't waste time waiting "("You will wake up in the night / With real fear / Spend your life waiting for it / For a moment that just doesn't come / Don't waste time waiting").

Bruce Springsteen America London London Wembley Stadium United Kingdom (picture-alliance / dpa)

American rock singer Bruce Springsteen came to East Berlin in 1988 to perform

A dream come true

For most of the audience, Springsteen's performance in East Berlin was an event they had almost never dared to hope for years before. In the Arte documentary Cold War of Concerts, the visitor recalls that the play was like a beautiful dream, "never thought to have been fulfilled."

But there were critical noises at the time: performances by artists and Western bands such as Depeche Mode, Joe Cocker, Udo Lindenberg or Bob Dylan served the GDR state apparatus until the late 1980s only as a means to an end – immobilizing the population.

Bruce Springsteen, a sample American, a superpower of the enemies of the capitalist class. In order not to jeopardize the socialist idea of ​​the GDR ideology, the organizers declared the concert summary a solidarity event for Nicaragua. The New Germany party organ then called Springsteen a "singer of the poor and disenfranchised," victims of capitalism.

Eight Springsteen albums have been recorded in front of the wall opening. Visitors to the Ost-Berliner concert in particular were waiting for the title track of his 1984 album "Born to USAA." Then the singer gave the refrain to his audience. Although Springsteen draws in a poem a critical portrait of his homeland, he advocates enthusiastic listeners who symbolize the United States as the leader of the free world.

Manifest desire for space

Whether Angela Merkel attended the concert at the time or at least tried to get tickets is secondary. But she wanted to travel through the US with Springsteen music, through the Midwest, not in a chrome street cruiser, as she says in an interview with Spiegel, but accompanied by a raw and open desire for space.

Bruce Springsteen was one of the first representatives of Heartland Rock, a style of rock that was very successful between the early and mid 1980s. Americans call the coastal states "Heartland," including the Midwest, with the absolute longing of Angela Merkel, the Rocky Mountains.

Heartland musicians referred to the social and social problems of the white working class in their lyrics, which used music as a catalyst to escape from this everyday life. They symbolized that even people who lived in apparent freedom could have reasons for lusting for freedom.

Angela Merkel in the Car ( / A. Oikonomou)

Angela Merkel may have heard Bruce Springsteen's "Who's going to stop the rain" more often.

Hope for luck if nothing else succeeds

"All this baby is a fact / But maybe all that comes back this day / Put on makeup on that Meet me tonight in Atlantic City"Springsteen sings about" Atlantic City "recorded in 1982 (" Everything dies, baby, that's a fact / But maybe everything that dies one day will come back) / Put on makeup and straight hair and / Meet me tonight in Atlantic City " ).

Once again, these are people who cannot be beaten, who, despite their lack of perspectives, repeatedly scrap the remaining remnants of hope and believe in their own happiness. Even if nothing else works, if everything goes wrong, anything is possible. After all, this is a land of opportunity.

The magic of music was and is that you don't even have to understand the lyrics to understand clearly what it is about. This is another reason why Bruce Springsteen was a hopeful hope for NDR citizens. "He's really crazy. We really like his music – first of all, if you ever experience it, you just don't know it," Sender Freies, a 1988 Berliner at the Abendschau, said in Berlin.

She and other concert goers could not know in the summer of 1988 that the wall would fall sixteen months later.