LONDON (Reuters) - It’s not often that Coldplay, one of the world’s biggest bands, agrees to play backing vocals to a one-time boy band heartthrob like Gary Barlow of Take That.
But that is exactly what happened in the early hours of Thursday when the rockers performed on stage with Barlow, and later with U2’s lead singer Bono and U.S. band The Killers at a charity show following the BRIT pop awards.
The event was in support of the War Child charity, which aims to protect children living in the world’s most dangerous war zones. It has just released a compilation album “Heroes.”
Coldplay put behind it the disappointment of the BRITs, where it was nominated for four awards but won nothing, to play to 2,000 people at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. “The band to see at the moment is Take That,” said Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Take That were one of Britain’s most successful groups in the 1990s and have topped the charts again since reforming.
“We’ve just come back from Japan and lost all the BRITs. It’s been a s—- day, quite frankly,” he joked at the end of a set where the band played a string of hits including “Yellow.”
Barlow entered stage left and performed Take That classic “Back For Good,” with Coldplay providing the music and Martin the backing vocals, much to the crowd’s delight.
The finale of the concert was a rendition of The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” sung by the band itself, Coldplay, Barlow and Bono, lead singer of Irish rockers U2.
The concert, which started late on Wednesday, was the highlight of the night for many fans and journalists who had been at the BRIT awards earlier. Welsh singer Duffy won three awards including the coveted best British album accolade.
War Child has billed Heroes, its fifth record, as “the ultimate covers album.”
Fifteen young acts were selected by established names in rock and roll to perform one of their own songs.
They include Duffy performing former Beatle Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” TV On The Radio covering David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Estelle singing Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Elbow with U2’s “Running to Stand Still.”
“War Child’s work is vital and being able to have a moment with Brandon (Flowers of The Killers) and Chris (Martin) tonight is a salute to an awesome night for them,” Bono said.
“U2 love Elbow’s new version of ‘Running To Stand Still’,” he added in a statement.
Record major EMI made a “substantial,” undisclosed payment to War Child and has released the album on its Parlophone label. Parlophone donates UK profits to the international charity.
War Child’s first album was “Help!” in 1995. The charity said the concept of rock legends selecting tracks for younger artists to perform reflected its own work in investing in the next generation.
Editing by Paul Casciato