U2 will take time away from its "360 Tour" to join fellow musicians Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright, Antony Hegarty, Scarlett Johannson, and Courtney Love for a (RED) Campaign benefit concert on October 4 at New York's Carnegie Hall. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, September 16 on CarnegieHall.com, with six different ticket prices set from $35 - $250.
The concert is a part of the newly established (RED) Nights concert series and is presented by producer Hal Willner with a billing as "An Evening with Gavin Friday and Friends." It's no surprise that Irish singer-songwriter Friday was able to pull Bono and company away from touring duties for this event; not only was Bono one of the founders of the (RED) initiative, he and Friday have been friends since childhood.
While details are still being ironed out, U2 will not perform and the band members will mostly likely play with other performers in a one-off collaborative setting. Other musicians that will round out the bill: jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, Martha Wainwright, Lydia Lunch, Maria McKee and Eric Mingus and other surprise guests are promised.
Launched in early 2006, the (RED) Campaign aligned itself with numerous major brands such as American Express, the Gap, Dell, Converse and Starbucks in creating a unique line of products, of which proceeds are donated to the Global Fund (globalfund.org), an organization which aims to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. In June 2009, in conjunction with Live Nation, (RED) has rolled out a select concert series dubbed (RED) Nights in select cities; performances this summer have included major draw acts such as Katy Perry, Fall Out Boy and O.A.R.
While this Carnegie Hall show certainly has the makings of a major rock event, the addition of indie leaning artists such as Antony (of Antony & the Johnsons) and the Wainwrights align the show with the more left-of-center pop and rock acts that (RED) has tapped for this fall. Ingrid Michaelson, Thievery Corporation and Built To Spill are booked for shows in October and November, with Sondre Lerche and singer-songwriter Joshua Radin having recently performed shows under the (RED) banner.
"We aren't after a single demographic. We hope to reach lots of different groups of fans through (RED)NIGHTs and build an ongoing, sustainable way for many artists to bring their fans to (RED)," Don MacKinnon, director of strategy and entertainment for (RED) tells Billboard.com of the campaign's intentions. "As we begin to have the second and third shows in various cities, we hope that the series will take on a life of its own."