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70,000 U2 Fans Form Huge Polish flag to Cold War Anthem

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, July 05, 2005


Chorzow, Poland - Some 70,000 fans of Irish rock band U2 waved shirts, scarves and handkerchiefs to compose a massive red-and-white Polish national flag to U2's "New Year's Day," an anthem inspired partly by Poland's Solidarity struggle against communism.

Fresh from the weekend's "Make Poverty History" Live 8 concert event, the band led by singer and anti-poverty activist Bono performed in Poland's southern Chorzow city stadium Tuesday night. U2 is currently touring with material from their newest album, Vertigo [sic].

Fans on the stadium pitch waved red items, while those sitting in the bleachers brandished white during the Cold-War era song.

Ever the showman, Bono also underscored the Polish inspiration for the song's lyrics by showing the red lining of his jacket and bowing deeply to the audience as he sang.

"New Year's Day" appeared on U2's 1983 breakthrough album War. According to Bono, the song's lyrics were inspired in part by the Polish communist regime's brutal crackdown in December 1981 on the freedom-fighting Solidarity trade union and its underground struggle, unprecedented at the time in the Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc.

The idea to underscore the Polish inspiration for the U2 classic arose from and was organized among the band's Polish fans on the Internet and was then relayed by the Polish media prior to the concert.

© Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 2005.

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