Lady Gaga was paid a heavy check of $2 million for a 10-minute performance at the opening ceremony of the European Games in Baku,
reported on June 16, 2015. The American pop singer performed John Lennon’s song “Imagine” while playing a piano covered in flowers.
An average teacher’s salary in Azerbaijan is $150 per month. By some accounts, the government spent a whopping $8 billion on preparations for the Games. The Azerbaijani government also covered accommodation and travel expenses for about 6,000 athletes.
In a sharp contrast to Lady Gaga, Bono of U2 called for releasing political prisoners shortly after the opening ceremony. At a concert in Montreal, he sent a message to President Ilham Aliyev.
“Message for President Aliyev! And that message is this Sir: if anything happens to one of our friends, we will hold you responsible!” he said, referring to jailed Azerbaijani activists and journalists Emin Huseynov, Khadija Ismayilova, Anar Mammadli, Leyla Yunus, Rasul Jafarov, and Intigam Aliyev.