Today, July 15th it’s 20 years ago. 7305 days ago.
Just by this time, 20 years back on time, an organ waas beggining to sound...
On a hot July 13th Sunday of 1987, four Irish people touched the ground of Spain for the first time. Their plane had came directly from Rotterdam, and had arrived to the Barajas Airport, on the East of the city of Madrid, at 12 AM.
From the airport they took a private bus to take them to the hi-luxury hotel Ritz. Outside the Hotel, about 1500 people, aware of their arriving, were waiting the Irish to have photos and autographs of their favourite band.
After spending 3 hours in their rooms, approximately at 18 PM, they left the Hotel and went out to visit the city. They spent all the night on the pubs and discotheques all around the city and about 04 AM of the next day they came back to the hotel.
Soon on the next morning, July 14th , three people left silently the hotel. Their names? David Evans, Paul Hewson, Brian Eno. They took down the Castellana Avenue, straight to the biggest venue of Europe by the time: the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, capable to contain more than 76,000 people on the seats, and of course many other people on the ground. When the three musicians entered the totally-empty stadium, they had an heavenly feeling: the day later was going to be one of their greatest moments ever.
The night of the 14th July was spent on the multi-parties all around the pubs of the city, and they came back to the hotel at the same time that about 5,000 people were arriving to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to begin with their long queue.
Wednesday 15th July 1987. Madrid (Spain). Very, very hot morning - 38ºC (100ºFahr.)
The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium had a big (30 x 12 meters) banner which announced “SOLD OUT for BigAudioDinamite - UB40 – The Pretenders – U2”. That meant that more than 85,000 tickets had been sold. The Stadium was going to be full! Great spectacle upcoming!
At 10:25 AM (more than 6 hours far from the Gates-Opening), the police reports more than 135,000 people outside the stadium.
Originally posted by Police talking on the Radio:So, something was wrong. Anyway, the day continued, and the heat too. More than 41ºC at 13 PM, and more than 150,000 people outside the venue.
Something’s wrong here. The concert was planned for about 85,000 people, but here we’ve got more than 40,000 people over that number, and that’s growing. It’s too much. Maybe something’s wrong with the tickets. We don’t know. Let’s hope nothing happen!
The gates got opened at 17:30 PM, and the people began to enter the stadium. The whole ground got full half an hour after the gate-opening, and the seats got full in less than an hour later. However, many (more than 35,000) people were standing outside the stadium with their legally-bought tickets, and they were asking to enter. Since they were legal tickets, the administration decided to allow them to enter the stadium. Since it was already full of about 90,000 people, and more than 35,000 new people had entered, the situation became hard and dangerous. More than 125,000 people in a stadium allowed to 80,000… The problem had been the promoter, who had sold almost 40,000 additional tickets illegally.
Anyway, about at 19:15 PM, the first support group, Big Audio Dinamite came up to the stage. They played energically, but didn’t achieve a big response of the audience.
The second support group, the british group UB40, came to the stage at 21:00 and began with their sweet and relaxing reggae. They got a huge applause when they saluted in Spanish with a big “Hooooooooooooola!!!!”.
They played known songs like ”Red, red wine” and “Many Rivers To Cross”, also played the U2 song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For with the snippet of Bob Marley’s Exodus, and closed their 15-songs-set with Can’t Help Falling In Love With You and a emotional version of Unchained Melody.
The last support group was The Prentenders. They came up about at 22:20, and just at the beginning of their set, the singer, Chrissie Hynde, won another huge applause when she walked down the stage and cheered the audience (as Bono did on the known version of Bad from the Live Aid). The Pretenders played some of their more known songs as Brass in Pocket and Don get me Wrong, but they reserved a surprise for the audience: Don’t Let Me Down, a cover song of The Beatles.
They left the stage about at 23:15. Then the lights went off, the venue got dark and began the long succession of all-time-rock-classics over the PA. Sympathy For The Devil, Billie Jean, Helter Skelter, Hound Dog, Don’t Let Me Down, Help, Roxanne and Walk On The Wild Side were some of them. After more than 40 minutes of PA music, Stand By Me, a widely known song here in Spain, which was sung by the whole audience. The song finished and then, exactly when the clocks were sounding to announce the new day (00:00 AM), an organ began to sound over the audience. It was on the same key than the opener of the Joshua Tree. And it was the beginning of Where The Streets Have No Name. And the group was U2
The rest is history.
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Will Follow
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Exodus (snippet)
The Unforgettable Fire
Bullet The Blue Sky / The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (snippet)
Running To Stand Still
Sunday Bloody Sunday
In God's Country
The Electric Co. / Break On Through (snippet)
Bad / Walk On The Wild Side (snippet)
New Year's Day
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
With Or Without You / Shine Like Stars (snippet) / Love Will Tear Us Apart (snippet)
For the last time ever, Bono climbed up to the stage in the song The Electric Co, and there shook a white flag and snippeted Break On Through (To The Other Side).
Also gets a mention the anecdote after Help. The stadium was shouting “Torero” (Torero stands for Bull-Fighter, a very usual flattering here in Spain) to Bono, and he answered them “No soy el torero, soy el TORO” (“I’m not the bull-fighter, I’m the BULL!!).
Awesome versions of every song (at least for my Spanish ears…), but the most emotional moment was the première of Spanish Eyes, in Spain…
The last song was ‘’40’’, of course, and Bono did a great goodbye-speech:
Originally posted by Bono:
The next time you’re in Dublin, Eire, you can ask for me, ok? This is a beautiful city, Madrid… We spent the last few days here just walking thru the streets and also walking through the night ambient. We’ve had a wonderful time, we fell like as at home, thank you. I ask myself one question, I ask myself one question: Why have we not played here before? We play this for you, and also we play this for the people on the streets outside and the people on the buildings upthere… This is a song ‘’40’’, good night!
More than 120,000 people in a Stadium, enjoying their favourite music, and having a great time.
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