18 years ago today, U2 performed a concert in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina while on their PopMart Tour. They were the first major artist to have a concert in the city after the end of the Bosnian War.
About 45,000 people attended the show held in Koševo Stadium – which was used as a morgue during the war.
Security was tight at the show, and troops surrounded the stadium in case violence broke out. But the soldiers were part of one of the most meaningful moments of the concert, as NME magazine recalled: When the band walked offstage at the end of the show, the audience erupted into applause, and the troops joined in.
Larry Mullen, Jr., the band”s drummer, later said in an interview on BBC Radio, “There's no doubt that that is an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. And if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, I think it would have been worthwhile.”
Bono told The Independent that the concert was “one of the toughest and one of the sweetest nights of my life,” saying of the audience, “I think they wanted, more than anything, a return to normalcy. That”s what these people want, and that”s what they deserve.”
And yes, U2 did play “Miss Sarajevo” at the show.
Other notable Sept. 23 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1952: Hank Williams had his final recording session. He died the following January.
• 1962: “The Jetsons” premiered on ABC.
• 1980: Bob Marley played his final show, at Pittsburgh”s Stanley Theatre. In May 1981, he died after battling cancer.
• 1994: “The Shawshank Redemption” opened in U.S. theaters. It went on to earn seven Oscar nominations.
• 1998: Britney Spears” debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” was released.
• 2010: Sesame Workshop announced that it would not air a “Sesame Street” segment starring Katy Perry that had met met with an outcry from parents when the clip was posted on YouTube ahead of its scheduled airdate. In the segment, Perry wears a low-cut dress while singing a parody of her song “Hot “N Cold” with Elmo.
Birthdays: rocker Bruce Springsteen (66), “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander (56), “Pitch Perfect” actor Skylar Astin (28), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” actor Anthony Mackie (37), “Pushing Daisies” actor Chi McBride (54)