It was 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall came down, successfully uniting East and West Germany and putting a metaphorical stake through the heart of the Cold War. The historic significance was not lost on the producers of the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards on Thursday (November 5). To commemorate a reunited Germany, show host Katy Perry threw to [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] live at Brandenburg Gate — the former threshold between East and West Berlin that now stands as a national monument — where thousands had gathered for a historic performance.
“Happy birthday, Berlin!” Bono shouted as his band launched into their hit “One” from 1991′s Achtung Baby, which was partially recorded in Berlin and got its title from a sign that Bono said used to hang outside the city’s western gate. U2 proved why they had won Best Live Act earlier in the night as they plowed through the anthemic track and an elaborate light show was projected onto the gate behind them, flashing words like “Love” and “Freedom.” The crowd of Berliners sang along with every note and held their cell phones aloft, creating a haunting glow.
When the final notes of “One” faded out, Bono began a call-and-response with the crowd before tearing into “Magnificent,” a fiery song from their latest album No Line on the Horizon. “Happy birthday, Berlin!” Bono shouted one last time at the song’s completion. For the thousands gathered and the millions watching around the world, it was a fitting celebration.