U2 360° Journal > U2 Live in Istanbul (not Constantinople)
I knew something special was going to happen when U2 took the stage.
While waiting outside the stadium on the general admission line, I heard the band playing around with Mothers of the Disappeared during the sound check. To the best of my recollection, I had never seen them perform that song live before. It's also fairly rare that U2 have a special guest performer on stage, so I appreciate the raw quality of the performance.
As for the stadium, it's way out at the far end of nowhere (read Challenges of U2010 for some background). Considering it's a relatively new Olympic stadium, I was surprised by the amount of rubble around the stadium site; the rubble and chain-linked fencing gave the area a construction zone vibe. The location is so inconvenient, even soccer matches are poorly attended. So I was surprised to hear Bono say the 50,000 in attendance was more than the band could have possibly hoped for. The top level of the stadium was empty, but I'll take his word for it given the number of people on the field in general admission.
At one point, when Bono started doing one of the things he does best, relating personally to the masses, the crowd immediately started to boo at the notion of political chatter. It being the tail end of Ramadan and the country in the midst of a constitutional vote, the people wanted to get away from all of that for a couple hours. Bono quickly backed away and asked permission to talk about their bridge. The crowd cheered. So Bono talked about walking across the Bosphorous Bridge and how it was a great tool for uniting the people.
The following Wednesday, I took a boat cruise around the Golden Horn and the Bosphorous. I was stunned by the enormous span of the Bosphorous Bridge and I noticed nobody was walking across it; it was strictly a bridge for vehicles. It was so unnerving for me to look up at the bridge (I have a problem with heights), I highly doubt I'd be able to walk across it under any circumstances. Could Bono have possibly been wrong? Was he talking about the bridge I walked across the day before, the one with restaurants along the bases? Right when I was beginning to doubt what Bono had said during the concert, the tour guide started talking about the bridge. He said no pedestrians are allowed to cross the bridge.
But on Sunday the Turkish government made an exception for one man.
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