NEW YORK – Bono has some top notch understudies: Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin of Coldplay acted as the U2 frontman, who is recovering from a bike accident, at a concert Monday night honouring World AIDS Day.
Springsteen performed “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” alongside U2’s Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr. in Times Square in front of a few hundred fans who stood in the rain.
Aside from highlighting the fight against AIDS, the night’s other theme was supporting an injured Bono. Springsteen said he hoped the 54-year-old was recovering in Dublin, and Martin told the crowd after performing: “Sending my love to Bono.”
A bike accident in Central Park last month left Bono with multiple injuries, including a facial fracture involving his left eye socket, a fractured left shoulder blade and a fractured left elbow. He underwent a five-hour surgery.
Martin, who wore a T-Shirt that read “Substitu2,” sang “Beautiful Day” and “With or Without You.” The concert, billed “U2 Minus 1 – Live in New York Tonight,” also featured a pregnant Carrie Underwood and Kanye West, who was energetic when he performed hits including “Jesus Walks,” “Power” and “Stronger.”
Bill Clinton opened the concert Monday, which was World AIDS Day, and said Bono requested he do so.
“I got this email from Bono today recuperating in Dublin, and he said I had to come here tonight to do this intro,” the former U.S. President said. “Twenty six years ago we could have never had an event like this on World AIDS Day because to be diagnosed with AIDS was the death sentence. A few years ago when Secretary of State Clinton said that we could end AIDS, a lot of people didn’t believe it. But this year for the first time ever, more people were put on life saving medicine than were diagnosed with AIDS.”
He later earned a loud cheer when he said: “We are going to win this fight.”
President Barack Obama appeared in a video that played on a large screen in Times Square.
“We’re closer than we’ve ever been to achieving the extraordinary – an AIDS free generation,” he said. “We got to keep fighting, all of us.”
U2 announced the concert on its website Monday. “This year is a World AIDS Day like no other,” Bono said in a statement from Dublin. “The world reached a tipping point in the fight against AIDS – more people were newly added to life-saving treatment than were newly infected with the virus. A lot of people are calling it the beginning of the end of AIDS.
The website also said Springsteen and Martin “graciously donated their time and talents to save the World AIDS Day event from cancellation.”