by Paul Bowers
On Sunday at the Pour House, a supergroup of 21 Charleston singers will come together to reenact the recording of the 1985 hit charity fundraiser single "We Are The World." Tickets are $10, and proceeds from the event will go to the Charleston Animal Society.
The artists will each take on the role of one of the superstar artists from the original song, performing a cover version of that artist's song and then joining forces at the end to sing "We Are The World" together. According to Lindsay Holler, who helped organize the event, the local lineup includes herself, Cullen Baney, Charles Carmody, Steven Fiore, Jonathan Gray, Dan Hanf, Rachel Kate, Aaron Levy, Vikki Matsis, Thomas McElwee, Maya Morrill, Emily Painter, Brittany Puite, Johnny Puke, Elliott Smith, Jimmy Snyder, Laura Jane Vincent, and Doug Walters. The singers will perform with a house band made up of Stuart Light (drums), Gerald Gregory (keyboards), Lee Barbour (guitar), and Jonathan Gray (bass).
The original track, penned by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, was recorded by a supergroup to end all supergroups. Bruce Springsteen sang a duet with Stevie Wonder. Billy Joel, Tina Turner, and Kenny Rogers traded off the microphone for a verse. The list of big-name cameos goes on: Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Paul Simon. Since the song's release, sales of the hit single have generated millions of dollars for humanitarian projects across Africa.
Holler says she and other Charleston musicians have been kicking the idea around for years, but she finally took the initiative. At the concert, Holler says she'll be taking on the ambitious role of Michael Jackson.
"Some of the matchups are a little weird," Holler says. "I like to tell people who are the local people involved and what are the parts that are available, but I kind of want to keep it a secret."
Doors open for the show on Sun. Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the Stranger Tickets.
In case you need a refresher, here's what the original sounded like: