History Lesson: U2 in Bosnia, 1997

This article from The Atlantic brings up some good points about U2’s forway into the Balkans.

Fifteen years ago this weekend, on Sept. 23, 1997, pop music changed the world.

Well, briefly at least. On a Tuesday night in a bomb-scarred Olympic stadium, Irish rock band U2 played the first major pop concert to take place in the recuperating city of Sarajevo since the end of the Bosnian war, in hopes of erasing the ethnic tensions that had overwhelmed Yugoslavia, if only for the duration of a two-act set.

“If there’s any message, it’s a simple one, a banal one,” frontman Bono explained to CNN. “It’s that music is beyond politics.”

Famously, Bono’s ballooning humanitarian efforts would later earn him a reputation—not a good one—as a “messianic do-gooder” and an overambitious, globe-trotting collector of vanity projects. In 2002, the cover of Time would ask cheekily, “Can Bono Save the World?,” and in 2009, the Daily Mail complained that while Bono was certainly passionate about relieving Third World debt, he acted “as if he has the entire solution to it in his leather trousers.” But U2 hadn’t come to Sarajevo with plans to save the nation or reverse the course of history. Bringing a good time to some young people for a few hours was good enough.

The rest of the article can be found here.  

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.