Edge Rises to the Occasion

THE Edge, lead guitarist for U2, was the star attraction at a benefit auction at the Hard Rock Café in New York on Saturday in aid of his charity Music Rising, which he created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to raise money for affected musicians in the Big Easy.

The "Icons of Music," auction raised an eye-popping $2.5 million, as bidders from around the world ponied up huge amounts of money for precious items such as a pair of Bono's sunglasses, a saxophone donated by former President Bill Clinton, and best of all, the Edge's prized possession, a 1975 Gibson Les Paul custom guitar which he's used on every U2 tour since 1985.

The guitar went for $240,000. Another Gibson guitar that Edge donated sold for $105,000, and an autographed Bono guitar raised $187,500. (The Clinton sax went for $54,000, and the Bono shades $24,000.)

Supermodel and U2 friend Christy Turlington co-hosted the event with Edge. Musicians from New Orleans were on hand to play music, and the Edge put his John Hancock to a special guitar that will be displayed at the Hard Rock restaurant in Biloxi, scene of similar Hurricane Katrina devastation.

"Tonight is about raising lots of money for some very special musicians," Edge said. "I have to say that it is a strange feeling to see some of your stuff up here. One of the good things about globalization is it has created a single international music community, and I feel very much part of it. So this doesn't seem like it's someone else's problem. It's really our problem too."

The event, according to Julien's Auctions, the house that handled the sale, was the most successful in its history. "It was the best sale we've ever done," said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions. Not surprising, as bidding went on for three hours past the scheduled time.

Hopefully Bono and Edge have hung onto some of their instruments for their next project. It was announced last week that the duo will create the music and lyrics for a Broadway musical based on Spider-Man.

Marvel Studios, which owns the rights to the lucrative Spiderman franchise, announced that the show will be directed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, and while no concrete dates have been set for an opening, a reading will take place this summer.

"We are certain this project will delight fans of Spider-Man and new audiences alike," said David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Studios, in a statement.

"Marvel continues to look to every entertainment medium to support the enduring popularity of our super heroes, and we are thrilled with the talent on board. The all-star creative team ... led by Julie Taymor, Bono and The Edge ... is second to none."

Bono, meanwhile, is going to appear on American Idol this Wednesday night, April 25, as part of the show's special focus on poverty in Africa. Bono spent last weekend in LA mentoring the six remaining Idol finalists, and they'll perform the song "American Prayer," which he wrote some years ago with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics about the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Idol is providing a link on its website to ONE, the group started by Bono to eradicate poverty in Africa.

"I wouldn't underestimate the reach of (Idol) or the impact its audience can have," Bono says. Sanjaya would surely agree!

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