Springsteen, Chris Martin, U2 rock World AIDS Day concert

Mon Dec 1, 2014 10:30pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay's Chris Martin filled in for U2's injured lead singer Bono on Monday evening and rocked a surprise World AIDS Day concert in New York's Times Square with the Irish rock group.

They joined other U2 members, Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr., to perform the group's songs as crowds packed the center of Manhattan bundled in coats and hats and huddled under umbrellas as rain fell.

Former President Bill Clinton, opening the concert, said he received an email from Bono, who is recuperating in Ireland from a cycling accident in New York last month, asking Clinton to do the introduction.

"This year for the first time ever, more people were put on life-saving medicine than were diagnosed with AIDS," Clinton told the cheering crowd.

"We can end AIDS but we all have to do our part," he added.

Martin pranced on the plastic covered stage in the heart of Manhattan and kicked off the concert with U2 with the song "Beautiful Day" as the crowd raised smartphones to record the moment, followed by "With or Without You" from the group's album, The Joshua Tree.

Messages about the AIDS pandemic that began more than 30 years ago were broadcast to the crowd between sets. United Nations data show that in 2013, 35 million people were living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus and some 1.5 million people had died of AIDS.

Singer Carrie Underwood sang two songs, followed by rapper Kanye West, performing a set to the delight of the crowd, before U2 returned with Springsteen, who led the group with "Where The Streets Have No Name."   Continued...

Chris Martin wears a shirt that says "SUBSTITU2" as he performs, in place of Bono, with U2 during a surprise concert in support of World AIDS Day in Times Square in New York December 1, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri