News on U2/Patti Smith, Jesse Harris, Buckcherry

As U2 wound down its seventh show of the year at New York's Madison Square Garden last night (Nov. 21), the band was joined by punk icon Patti Smith for a rendition of the John Lennon classic "Instant Karma." Smith was tapped to open these final nights in New York, and Bono wasted no time praising her and guitarist Tom Verlaine as "idols" at the opening of U2's set.

Bono and Smith traded off verses and harmonized during the chorus. In staying true to Smith's roots, the band slowed things down near the end and let her take over with a slam-style poetry bit.

As previously reported, U2's Vertigo tour will close out the year Dec. 19 in Portland, Ore., and will resume in February for shows in South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. This portion of the trek will run through April and play all stadiums.

-- Michael D. Ayers, N.Y.

Singer/songwriter Jesse Harris will launch his own imprint, Secret Sun, with the Feb. 21 release of a new solo album, "Mineral." Rather than working with his longtime band the Ferdinandos, Harris collaborated here only with keyboardist Larry Goldings and percussionist Kenny Wollesen. The set was recorded in the Bahamas with Terry Manning (Big Star, Isaac Hayes).

"Mineral" is Harris' first new album since 2004's "While the Music Lasts," released by Verve Forecast. The artist is in the midst of a free, weekly residency at New York's Living Room, which will conclude Nov. 28. He will also open a Dec. 8 show for Jane Monheit at the city's Town Hall.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Reunited after a three-year-break, modern rock act Buckcherry has lined up a series of California club residencies for December. Beginning Dec. 6, the band will play Tuesday at Los Angeles' Whiskey-A-Go-Go, Wednesdays at Khoury's in Long Beach, Thursdays at Cane's in San Diego and Fridays at Malibu Inn in Malibu. Also on tap is a New Year's Eve performance at L.A.'s Viper Room.

Buckcherry will release a new album, "Fifteen," early next year. It will be the group's first since 2001's DreamWorks set "Time Bomb," which debuted at No. 64 on The Billboard 200.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.