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CASTROck - Dagbladet, 19th February 2001

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Title: CASTROck
Publication: Dagbladet
Date: Monday 19th February 2001

The first concert with a western rock band in Cuba became a lightning in the Cubans' respect for Fidel Castro. Dagbladet was present at the historic concert with Manic Street Preachers

The last time Western rock artists played on the communist island, where Billy Joel and Kris Kristoffersen visited the island in 1979.

Millionaire Marxists Manic Street Preacher's new album "Know Your Enemy" is a ball park to the United States for the Cuba trade boycott. The band is awaiting this year's Quart Festival. The launch of the album, which comes out in Norway on March 17, became an absurd performance. This is not just because of the Cuban's problem of understanding English - or that Poprock or Manics is virtually unknown in MTV-free Cuba.

Manic Street Preachers had invited one of his performances - Fidel Castro - to the concert. They did not think he would come, but when he appeared with his violent bodyguard, the artists became extras. The same was true of the 5000 Cubans present at the concert - the first major rock concert on the Salsa Communist Island ever, of course with the largest copy of the Cuban flag as the backdrop.

There was an electrical mood inside the theater just before the concert. There are few times you see the Cuban stress. It only happens when Castro or his men, as there are many of them, come. And then it happens: The dictator, who is one of the foremost terrorist targets in the world for the past 40 years, comes in. An entire hall bounces up and waves with its red Manic Street Preachers flag to its El Commandant. When he finally gets settled, the rest sets himself. The rest controls old "daddy". Once during the concert, Castro travels and provides a collective patch. It happens after James Dean Bradfield sings "Baby Elian" - quite right about the drama in Florida last year. The last time is when Castro goes out of the hall.

Dagbladet talked with vocalist Bradfield before and after the concert. In the days before the concert he had sleepless nights due to the invention. Afterwards, he was bewildered by ecstasy. By meeting Castro - and for being invited for dinner with him.

"There is much to say about Fidel Castro, but he has his opinions and is charismatic, no one can take away from him. He and this country have stood against the United States and run their own race. That's how it respects, says Bradfield to Dagbladet.