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                      Bruce Springsteen -  When "The Boss" rocked the GDR


 Gerald Ponesky and

Gerald Ponesky and "The Boss". In this scene, Springsteen speaks the words that almost gave the event manager almost suffered a heart attack. 

When the second phone call interrupts, he almost casually throws the iPhone at the white lounge furniture. The next appointment pushes, stress with the airport opening, for which he, Gerald Ponesky, plans the big show. Everything has to be canceled, reorganized. He has to go.

But no, that has to wait a few more minutes now. Ponesky, one of the biggest event managers in Berlin, is now in a different location, although here in his clean showroom, which deals with the computer-controlled living of tomorrow. But the 58-year-old struggles with the virus of the past, a fever that shakes him in those moments. The magic of Weißensee, the concert of Bruce Springsteen in 1988. The biggest concert of the GDR, which was also the largest of the US rock stars. And he, Ponesky, had got it started and completed.

"Pony", as his friends and colleagues call him, was born and raised on the edge of the capital of the GDR, the son of TV entertainer Hans-Georg Ponesky ("With the heart in it"), studied philosophy in Leipzig, manager of a rock band ( We). "Of course, that did not mean" manager, "but organization leader," he says.

Ponesky seems a little reluctant when the photographer positions him in front of the big LED screen, in the background Bruce Springsteen, a note in his hand, from which "Der Boss" read some German phrases in 1988. The key scene from the four-hour Weißensee concert: "It's nice to be in East Berlin. I am not for or against a government, I have come to play rock'n'roll for you, hoping that one day all the barriers will be torn down. "Gigantic rejoicing.


"Officially 160,000 were there. There were far more, over 200,000, I think it was even 300,000. After all, everything was full, "Ponesky recalls. The way there was long, marked by constant episodes of adrenaline, of a heartbreaking blue-eyed.

The months from idea to realization fly away at Ponesky, words can hardly follow the memories. How he and his team managed a complete system to Wroclaw (Poland), because Honecker wanted to give a speech there for the FDJ. "And on a walk through the city we saw a picture of Springsteen. That's it! We should have that with us in the GDR. "

And fate took its course. The FDJ was there as an organizer. It was said that Springsteen stood as an honest representative of the little man, the worker. Despite his superstar status. Even his "Born in the USA" LP was available in the GDR. In addition, there was the tale, the boss would have supported the Sandinista in Nicaragua with a printing company. "Zack," says Ponesky, "was the name 'A Heart for Nicaragua'."

The artist agency started negotiations with the management of the boss. When the pledge came, 160,000 tickets were printed for 19.95 marks. "They were gone in no time." And Ponesky did what he does best: organize.

"We were so lovely blue-eyed, after all we were just doing Mugge: musical opportunity business," says Ponesky. "Nobody had any idea how to make such a gigantic concert."

For example, a bridge construction company in Magdeburg was commissioned for the stage construction. "Only those could produce something like that." Concrete pieces were used to create L-shaped wall breakers for the racetrack. "I painted them green, should nobody see the ugly concrete color." Then the color was all. "Anyway, no one has seen any more among the many people anyway."

On July 19, 1988, the day of the concert, the crowds flocked, it became the longest line in the GDR. The organizing team had nerves torn to shreds. "One thing we had to survive. Springsteen we had concealed that it was a concert for Nicaragua. The management was really annoyed, told us that the boss will cancel the concert when he sees it. "So he reached back into the bag of tricks. When Springsteen drove his limousine to the concert grounds, a stagehand had to cut through the brackets for the "A Heart for Nicaragua" poster. Pony smiles pensive. "It's worked out."

Heike Bernhard dancing with Bruce Springsteen (East Germany 1988-07-19)

"For everything that happened then, there are hardly any words," says Ponesky. The concert he and most of the traveling fans experienced as in the intoxication. "Moments for which luck is just a small word." From the first chords of opener "Badlands" to "The River" to "War", the surging crowd danced and clapped. The crazy climax: As thousands of citizens of the GDR along with the superhit "Born in the USA". "That will remain forever in my heart, indelible, as for every one who has witnessed this," says Ponesky, visibly moved.

Only a tricky situation had the organizers still exist. "At some point, we heard that one of the Springsteen crew asked backstage what 'Wall' means in German. We panicked and just thought that if he says something on the stage about the wall, we will not have any work tomorrow. "

Springsteens driver Georg Kerwinski was assigned to talk to the superstar. And Springsteen changed the word "wall" into "barriers." However, they were a bit queasy when Bruce said on stage in German "... in the hope that all barriers will be demolished one day." Then Ponesky learned that Egon Krenz was backstage and had given his blessing the words: "Against barriers we are too."

For Ponesky and his team, it was the start of an even more intoxicating future. After the turnaround, one large order after another followed. He staged SPD Bundestag election campaign tours, Red Bull Flugtage, the fan miles in Berlin.

What does a concert mean 24 years ago? After a short break he says: "I have a VHS cassette with the concert. And whenever I'm not in such a good mood, I'll put it in my pocket. Everyone needs that, these emotional moments that drive you back. "

Of course he will also be on May 30 in the Olympic Stadium with the boss. "But as a normal paying fan, with a few friends. And I will certainly shed a tear or two. "

His iPhone rings again. Now he has to continue. Always on. Even if he likes to look back now and then. To know again where he came from.

– Quelle: ©2017



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