The Band Together Bay Area benefit concert couldn’t have a more apt name. Since the event was announced just 10 days ago, half a dozen top musical acts, backed by nearly 50 corporate sponsors, have joined forces to stage a gigantic fundraiser Thursday at AT&T Park, raising more than $9 million for fire victims already.
Note: From lineup to streaming information, here's everything you need to know about the Nov. 9 benefit concert.
What makes this event even more remarkable is that backers started putting their plans together just a bit more two weeks after the North Bay was struck by massive wildfires, while flames were still burning.
The show boasts big names with local ties, including East Bay-based heavy metal superstars Metallica and veterans of the Grateful Dead performing in the band Dead & Company.
Longtime Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, whose Occidental home was spared by the recent wildfires, called together the members of Dead & Company and volunteered to play at the Band Together show as soon as he heard about it.
“I said to my bandmates, ‘Let’s go; let’s do this,’ and I didn’t have to ask twice,” he said. “I’ve never lost everything in a fire, so I can’t really speak to what it means when you lose your whole life’s memories. It’s more than just trinkets or photographs. It stands for something much deeper.”
Music can heal the soul, Hart said, which could be every bit as important as raising money for fire victims at the AT&T Park show.
“The place will be full of good energy,” he said. “We hope to raise everyone’s spirits.”
Hart and his wife, Caryl Hart, former head of Sonoma County Regional Parks, were in Sonoma County during the fires, taking food to fire evacuees at Analy High School and volunteering in other ways, he said.
“It’s a testament to all of Sonoma County that people came together to take care of each other,” he added. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
Dead & Company also includes drummer Bill Kreutzmann and guitarist Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, as well as guitarist John Mayer, bassist and drummer Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
“Everybody in the band is in different parts of the world, so it was real stretch to come out here together to do this benefit, and I am grateful to them for that,” Hart said. “We all need to get back to New York. We’re starting a tour starting at Madison Square Garden a few days after the benefit in San Francisco.” Dead & Company will go on to perform at the New York City venue Nov. 12 and 14.
The full roster of acts playing the Band Together concert also features Berkeley punk band Rancid, Oakland singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq, Oakland rapper G-Eazy and rocker Dave Matthews, to be joined by Tim Reynolds, lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.
But this is one show when the audience will be just as interesting as the performers onstage.
Working through North Bay charities and nonprofits contributing to local recovery efforts following the recent wildfires, concert organizers have set aside prime seats and free tickets for fire survivors and first responders.