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40 years of Berlin

The Edge et al. wearing military uniforms
Ask most people what they know about Berlin, and they will tell you that at one point in time it was divided into two. For more than 40 years Berliners have been victims of a violent past, caught in the struggle between two world superpowers, and unable to shake off the repercussions of the Second World War. But 1989 brought the sudden change everyone was waiting. And those same people who told you that Berlin has been split, if alive in 1989, will also tell you where they were when they heard the news that the Berlin wall was coming down. In 1989 the whole world was watching!

And the whole world was listening! A new era was taking shape in Berlin, and U2 wanted to be a part of it.

Achtung Baby, U2’s best album and the first album in which they really begin to doubt great narratives of the time. Achtung Baby set out to capture the spirit of a newly free and chaotic Berlin, but ultimately decided to tell a scattered, casual, and completely more interesting story in which the band members, are the main actors. This album was partly recorded in Berlin, but the band felt a disconnect with the city, and even worse, with each other. Even so, parts of the album make references to the city. For example, “Zoo Station,” was inspired by the Berlin Zoologischer Garten S and U-Bahn station. Despite all these challenges, they managed to impress their fans. In 2017 the band returned and held an impromptu free gig on the U2 U-Bahn, a metro that crosses the city and stops at the Berlin Zoologischer Garten.

Even though our Free Walking Tour does not stop by this station, we are happy to talk about it when we meet. Do you know which other famous musicians fell in love with Berlin?


Durante más de 40 años, Alemania y su capital se habían dividido en dos, víctimas de su propio pasado violento, atrapados en la lucha entre dos superpotencias mundiales e incapaces de ir más allá de las repercusiones de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Todo esto cambió repentinamente en el otoño de 1989, cuando cayó el muro que dividía la ciudad y la democracia liberal occidental finalmente triunfó decisivamente sobre el comunismo marxista-leninista. Una nueva era estaba tomando forma en Berlín, y U2 quería ser parte de ella.

Achtung Baby, el mejor álbum de U2  y el primer álbum en el que realmente comienzan a dudar de grandes narraciones, tanto las suyas como las de la historia misma. The Joshua Tree se propuso pintar un retrato cinematográfico de América que fusionó la política y los paisajes del país, y en gran medida, impensablemente, tuvo éxito en sus propios términos. Achtung Baby, por el contrario, se propuso capturar el espíritu de un Berlín recién libre y caótico, pero finalmente se decidió por contar una historia dispersa, casual y completamente más interesante en la que ellos, no la historia, son los principales actores.

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