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U2 PLAYS PRO BONO WITHOUT BONO AT SURPRISE CONCERT

Surprise (RED) Concert on World AIDS Day Features the Boss,
Chris Martin, Kanye, Carrie and Clinton

Two Presidents, an overflow of celebrity testimonials and several superstar performances were all part of the free (RED) World AIDS Day concert in Times Square yesterday.

President Bill Clinton handled the intro, telling the crowd he got an email from Bono (who was still recuperating in Ireland from his recent bike accident) asking him be there. “This year, for the first time ever, more people were put on life-saving medicine then were diagnosed with AIDS,” Clinton declared. “We could win this fight.”  

      

Introducing “One of the greatest bands in the history of rock music,” the prez tossed to U2. The musicians took the stage with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who performed impeccable versions of both “Beautiful Day” and “With Or Without You.” wearing a black T-shirt with “SUBSTITU2” emblazoned across the front.  “Dreams come true for young and old people alike,” Martin gushed during the set, clearly thrilled to front the band.

U2’s The Edge introduced Carrie Underwood as “The reigning Queen of Country”; she sang two songs in front of the fairly tough NYC crowd, with Edge assisting on guitar.

Kanye West had the longest set of the night, to the delight of the shivering, bundled-up audience, blasting through a string of five smashes including “Power,” “Jesus Walks,” and “Stronger.” ’Ye couldn’t resist a small rant, barking at the soundman,  “That song’s supposed to cut! Next song! We on TV.” At the end of his set he literally dropped the mic and walked off.

  

The evening ended with U2 returning to the stage with Bruce Springsteen. The Boss handled the classics “Where The Streets Have No Name,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” making the iconic songs his own, despite a considerably deeper vocal range. The crowd roared its approval, and chants of “Bruuuuuuuuuuce” echoed throughout Times Square.

Bryan Cranston
, Penelope Cruz, Common, Hugh Jackman, Iman, Kerry Washington, Christy Turlington, Julianne Moore, Benicio Del Toro, Jane Lynch, Gabourey Sidibe, Lucy Liu, Orlando Bloom, Ludacris, Claire Danes, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Don Cheadle and the recuperating Bono all appeared via video messages, as did President Obama, who insisted,“We are closer than we’ve ever been to achieving something extraordinary—an AIDS-free generation.”

Bank of America, which presented the concert, is slated to donate $3 million to (RED)'s efforts to fight the disease.

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