U2, George Michael & Elton John to play Sunderland (NOT)

Spotted: George Michael and Elton John dueting in Houghton. At first glance it seemed some of music’s biggest names had arrived on Wearside.

On closer inspection, it appears the superstars aren’t all they seem, but rather tribute acts preparing for a special concert.

George and Elton will be joined by the likes of David Bowie, U2, Queen, Status Quo and Dire Straits in a recreation of rock concert Live Aid. The event is being staged at Rainton Meadows Arena, Houghton, to commemorate 25 years since Bob Geldof wowed the world with his fund-raising event for famine relief in Ethiopa.

This time round, Tribute 2live Aid is being organised by County Durham businessman John Birkett in aid of Macmillan Nurses. “I’ve been sat thinking about it for the past year,” he explained. “I knew the 25th anniversary was coming up, but no one had mentioned doing anything to mark it.

“I have an entertainments agency which specialises in tribute acts and I have the best of the best on my books.”

John, owner of Idol Entertainments, added: “When Rainton Meadows Arena was refurbished I was invited along to the opening event and I just thought it was a cracking venue to host an event.”

Like the original Live Aid concert, John’s event will be staged over the course of a day with Status Quo tribute, Counterfeit Quo, following in their idols’ footsteps and opening the show at midday.

Nine acts will then perform until the show closes at 11pm. John said: “Live Aid was a huge event. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a ticket, but like everyone else I was glued to the TV for the memorable day

“We have replicated Status Quo opening the show, but these artists will be on for a full set from 50 minutes to an hour. It’s an ambitious project and I haven’t slept since it started but it will be worth it.”

The businessman says the charity the event will raise money for is a cause close to his heart.

“I lost my mam with breast cancer when she was 55 and I was 22 and my sister is going through cancer as we speak. The Macmillan Nurses have been a great help which is why I chose them.”