"Forget David Hasselhoff," says Erik Kirschbaum, author of Rocking the Wall, referring to the actor-singer whose single Looking for Freedom was No 1 in West Germany in the spring of 1989 – and who famously claimed he brought down the Berlin Wall. "Unlike Springsteen, Hasselhoff didn't go to East Berlin to perform, and neither did he call for the wall to come down a year before it happened."
The highlight of Springsteen's four-hour concert, in which he played a total of 32 songs, was undoubtedly a passionate speech, delivered in a creaky but understandable German, that carried a subtle but clear political message. "I'm not here for any government. I've come to play rock'n'roll for you in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down," he said to a crowd that erupted, before he launched into Bob Dylan's Chimes of Freedom, whose lyrics – about the "city's melting furnace … with faces hidden while the walls were tightening" – could hardly have resonated more with his captive audience, many of whom the crowd waved homemade American flags.
Music The Guardian remembers the night Bruce Springsteen played East Berlin: