1990 – Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters stages a production of his rock opera, The Wall, in Berlin

1990 – Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters stages a production of his rock opera, The Wall, in Berlin. Among the performers taking part in the benefit are Sinead O’Connor, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams and Phil Collins. On pay-per-view you could watch Roger Waters’ production of The Wall. The concert at the Berlin Wall featured a host of guest performers like Van Morrison, Bryan Adams, and Sinead O’Connor singing the album, with the usual Pink Floyd-related films and inflatables.

The day after The Wall concert in Berlin’s infamous Potzdamer Platz, David Bates, Dawn Bridges, and Chris Roberts from PolyGram Records, and I drove to East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was gone and you no longer needed visas to cross from one Berlin to the other, but traffic at the main crossings was congested. So we looked for an alternative route and found, literally, a hole in the wall, and, like Alice stepping through the looking-glass, drove through it into an East German building complex.

It was completely quiet, a perfectly ordinary Sunday afternoon. We parked on the empty street. The building project was drab, of course, but sunlit, and its grassy backlot was lifeless, broken ground that separated the apartments from the road, which ran along the internal edge of the awful, death-chilled wall. We got out of the car and went up to the wall to pick up souvenirs, fragments of granite tyranny lying at the base of this now defeated monster. For 28 years this barrier forbid an entire people to touch it and now four American vacationers rummaged among its remains for choice paperweights, picking up and tossing aside imperfectly shaped stones and stacking up appealing ones. There were human-sized holes in the wall, like crude doors, and we stepped in and out of them, to find better chunks, crossing back and forth from East to West, half a dozen times in five minutes. The largest chunks were on the west side, but the colorful ones were on the east, where liberated East Germans had gleefully graffitied the canvas that jailed them.

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