|U2 Concert poster|
Despite U2's obligation to the tour and their inability to perform in Sarajevo during the war, they vowed to play the city someday. The band contributed to Bosnian relief efforts to enhancepublic awareness around the issue, and Bono wrote with Bill Carter a song called Miss Sarajevo ( we'll come back to that in a different post) as a response to the surreal acts of defiance that had taken place during the siege of Sarajevo. I guess we are well known for the defiance and spite we have, and one of them surrely was the beauty pageant that was held in the city durring the aggression with all the girls carrying a banner that said, "Don't let them kill us".
|U2 concert poster and destroyed|
bulding in the background
U2 first became invalved with Sarajevo in 1993 on they ZOO TV tour. They were aproached by aid worker Bill Carter about bringing attention to the Siege of Sarajevo, and the band did nightly satellite transsmissions with Bosnians during their show. After the war ended in 1995 the band made arangemants to visit Sarajevo and with the help of UN, ambassadors and peace-keeping troups they scheduled and played the concert in 1997.
|Trams with U2 posters|
As late as July 1997, U2 were pressured to accept an offer of approximately $4 million to perform in Basel, Switzerland on the date scheduled for the Sarajevo show. At the time, rumours about the region's instability persisted. For the stage to reach Sarajevo, the road crew had to drive the equipment and stage through war-torn Bosnia. Although the trip was without incident, they had to pass through towns such as Mostar, which had been "obliterated" during the war. The only trouble in transporting the stage came when a border control agent prevented them from crossing the border for hours. The trucks reached Sarajevo two days prior to the concert, arriving to the cheers and applause of the city's residents; their arrival was the first concrete evidence that the band were keeping their promise to play there. McGuinness explained, "This is a city that's been disappointed so many times there were a lot of people who weren't prepared to believe the gig was going to take place until they saw the stage going up."Until then, tickets had sold very slowly, but within 24 hours of the trucks' arrival, another 8,000 tickets were sold. Despite this, a day before the concert, 15,000 tickets remained unsold. Three-hundred local residents were employed to help assemble the stage and promote the show.
|U2 posters and a solider|
Several hundred members of the international "Stabilisation Force" (SFOR) were tasked with upholding the Dayton Agreement for the concert. The band were overwhelmed by the sights they saw when arriving. During the war, Koševo Stadium was used as a morgue, and graveyards were present on either sides. Although the venue had escaped the worst of the shelling, the nearby Olympic Hall Zetra had been badly damaged during the war. Despite its condition, U2 used the building for their dressing rooms and offices. Following the concert, it was used to provide lodging for 3,000 fans.The band's hotel, a nearby Holiday Inn, had been shelled during the siege, and part of the building had been destroyed as a result. The walls in Mullen's room were punctured with mortar shrapnel, and sections of the floor were also missing. Prior to the show, Sacirbey took Mullen on a tour of the city, showing him the Sarajevo Roses embedded in the streets.
"We worked quite hard to make sure tickets were available in Croatia and even from Republika Srpska we had about 1,000 people come down today which is great. We tried our best to make it as multi-ethnic as Sarajevo was, and will be again."
Sarajevo under the music - Live
The concert was held on 23 September 1997, and approximately 45,000 people attended. It was broadcast in Bosnia by local television networks, as well as globally by BBC. During the event, 10,000 soldiers stood on the left side of the stadium to ensure no conflicts broke out. At showtime, a decision was made to open the stadium gates to all, allowing approximately 10,000 more fans who could not afford the concert or who had not purchased tickets in time to attend. In addition to the local and foreign fans, 6,000 off-duty SFOR soldiers attended the event in uniform. Inela Nogic ( winner of the pageant that inspired miss Sarajevo) attended the concert and arrived in a limo with the band. Three opening acts played before U2, beginning with the Gazi Huzrev-Beg choir, an Islamic choir from a local high school. Their performance was followed by two local bands, Protest and Sikter, one of which was chosen personally by Sacirbey, and the other which was selected through a radio contest.
Miss Sarajevo U2 live@Kosevo 1997.
U2 Missing Sarajevo