Roland Mandel is a German teacher, from Lüneburg, lover of music and in particular of gods Pearl Jam. The man, who a year ago was diagnosed with severe form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is now in a wheelchair, had bought tickets for the concert in 2019 Berliner of Eddie Vedder’s band. Covid first and its health after have seriously compromised the possibility for Roland to be present at the show at the Berlin Waldbühne. Fortunately, he was there, and a couple of rules were broken to make this happen.
Attending the Pearl Jam live show was one of Roland’s last wishes but, as reported by the German website Taz, all 12 seats reserved for wheelchairs in the location – which can hold up to 22,000 spectators – they had already been occupiedMeanwhile.
The mobilization was immediate: a social media campaign launched the hashtag RVMforRoland , in order to draw attention to the situation. In the posts, the band was also asked to play one of Roland’s favorite songs, Rearviewmirror, on the German date.
Mandel’s friends wrote to everyone: the concert organizer, the tenant of the venue, even the Berlin Commissioner for the Disabled, as well as the city’s cultural administration, trying to find a way to fulfill the teacher’s wish. .
After some negotiations, and certainly thanks also to the pressure arising from the social mobilization, the situation was resolved: Roland was at the concert, in an area close to the stage.
Not only. After covering the Ramones’ I Believe in Miracles, Pearl Jam invited Mandel to the stage. “He too should feel the thrill of this special show – he has declared Eddie Vedder – This man worked his ass to be here tonight“.
The other spectators welcomed the man with loud applause and a chorus chanting his name.
Mandel’s wife, Sandra Dragendorf, spoke to the press reporting all the sensations experienced that evening: “It was truly amazing. [Roland] he was so excited, so positive, so full of adrenaline. This will remain for eternity“.