12 August 1997
Warsaw show - Solidarity.
Warsaw show - Solidarity. "New Year's Day" with added polish imagery - especially of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement touches a major chord.
Show Day Hippodrome, Warsaw. Its hard to describe tonight's show in any meaningful way as it was so emotional and so extraordinary. U2 have never been to Poland, so an enormous number of people came to this show. The band had to delay show time by fifteen or twenty minutes, as there was still such a high volume of people still entering the park. In the end an announcement was made asking everyone to move over to try and let more people in. It was jammed full of people, and a very loud and enthusiastic lot they were too. Once we got started, the show was like holding onto a firework. The high point of the show was New Year's Day. Its a little know fact that the song was written about the Polish Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa & his wife, and a few other abstract angles. This has become a point in the show where we turn off our gigantic video screen to let the music do the talking, but for this show only Bono had asked if we could find some pictures of our man Lech, of the Solidarity banners, marches, etc. During the second verse of New Year's Day, the pictures started to appear. The processions, demonstrations, banners (I always thought that "Solidarnosc" had a great looking logo), and finally pictures of Walesa being carried, making ëvictory signs', etc.
Now, we've all heard crowds cheer, but there was a depth of emotion in the deafening roar that went up which was physically disabling. Looking around the mix-position where I was watching from, crew, management, tour staff, everyone was transfixed by this enormous moment of communal empathy, national pride, celebration and joy. The pictures on the screen dissolved one into the next, moments of this country's victorious history, and deafening cheer after deafening cheer went up. It was moving almost to the point of tears, to think about what this country was like when that song was written, how much these people had seen, how much they were sharing in that field, in those pictures, in that song - and they didn't come down for the rest of the night. I know its only rock and roll, but I'll remember that one for the rest of my life.