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U2 performs surprise concert in Times Square for World AIDS Day

Bruce Springsteen plays with U2 at the World

Bruce Springsteen plays with U2 at the World AIDS Day concert in Times Square, Manhattan, Dec 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Thousands of people packed Times Square last night for a surprise concert by U2 given in honor of World AIDS Day that featured Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Kanye West and Carrie Underwood.

Bill Clinton introduced U2, and praised the advancements in the fight against AIDS.

"We are going to end this fight," he said. "We can end AIDS but we all have to do our part."

Martin and Springsteen stepped in to sub for Bono, who is still recovering from a serious bicycle accident in Central Park on Nov. 16.

The performances were interspersed with videos on how to end AIDS, including a video message from President Barack Obama.

The rain slowed to a drizzle as Martin opened the show, dubbed "U2 Minus 1," with the Irish band's classic "Beautiful Day."

Despite being packed tightly, the excited crowd danced to the heart-thumping music, singing along.

"Dreams come true for all young and old people alike," Martin said before launching into "With or Without You."

After Martin finished two songs, a video concerning the fight against AIDS by (Red), one of the sponsoring organizations, was played.

The crowd of an estimated 15,000, according to event organizers, stretched all the way to 50th Street. The show, announced on U2's website in the afternoon, began at 7:30, lasting about 45 minutes.

Evelyn Montane, 31, a tourist from the south of France, was nearby when she heard about the concert on Twitter and rushed over.

"It's very important, I hope the people here get the message," she said. "I hope they don't just come to see the concert."

Pace University student Ethan Levy, 18, is a huge Kanye West fan and came specifically to hear the rapper.

"I support what they are doing," he said about the awareness campaign. "I love live music, it puts everyone in a good mood."

For his part, Bono said the world has reached a tipping point in the fight against AIDS.

"This year is a World AIDS Day like no other," Bono said in a statement from Dublin. "Americans don't know the role they've played in this fight. Tonight's event is to inform them and thank them."


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