The news came out today that Sting will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rainforest Fund with an all-star show at New York’s Beacon Theatre on December 9th featuring Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Bob Geldof, Shaggy, Ricky Martin, H.E.R., Eurythmics, and host Robert Downey Jr.
A show with names like that could easily fill Madison Square Garden five times over, but the Rainforest Fund shows are always intimate affairs packed with unexpected cover songs and surprise collaborations. The theme this year is “songs of the 80s and 90s, when music and activism united to change the world and MTV brought it to life with sound and vision.”
There have been many incredible Rainforest Fund shows over the years, but perhaps the most memorable one took place May 13th, 2010 at Carnegie Hall. It was an “1980s Nostalgia” show that wrapped up with the unforgettable sight of Elton John, Lady Gaga, Sting, Shirley Bassey, Debbie Harry, and Bruce Springsteen playing “Don’t Stop Believin.'” Springsteen wasn’t on the bill that night, but he came out near the end to play “Dancing in the Dark” and an epic, soulful rendition of “Cuts Like a Knife” by Bryan Adams. “Sting called me sort of last minute so I’m gonna show some Eighties nostalgia,” he told the audience before playing the Adams songs. “Sting, we’re Eighties nostalgia, really.” (Check out video of the performance right here.)
Seven years later, he had the opportunity to play “Cuts Like a Knife” with Bryan Adams at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto. The 2010 Rainforest Benefit, however, remains the first and last time he ever played a Journey song. It’s hard to imagine what could possibly top the “Don’t Stop Believin'” finale of that night, but we vote for Toto’s “Africa.” It’s time for Bruce and his buddies to bless the rains. When will they ever have a better opportunity?