Dispatch haven't played together since July 31, 2004, but the alt-pop trio are reuniting for three consecutive nights beginning July 13 at New York City's Madison Square Garden, with all proceeds benefiting various charities in Zimbabwe. "The whole band has been moved by what's going on in that country, particularly with AIDS, famine problems, and oppression from the government," the band's Pete Francis told SPIN.com. "Dispatch don't really tour as a band, but our music lives on. It's nice to reunite like this for a great cause."
Dispatch cultivated an interest in fighting disease, hunger, and social injustice in the fraught African country early in their career. "The first part of one of our songs, 'Elias,' is a prayer in Zimbabwe's language Shona, and when I first met [bandmate] Chad [Urmston] when he was 18 years old, he sang that song to me," Francis revealed. "The song has this beautiful emotional strength, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's about Chad wondering if he'd see his friend Elias from Zimbabwe again."
Judging by history-making ticket sales, Dispatch's fans are eagerly awaiting seeing the band again. Francis and company were planning on playing only one benefit show, but after tickets for it sold out in 30 minutes, they added a second gig. In less than 24 hours, tickets to the additional "Dispatch: Zimbabwe" show also sold out. A third night has subsequently been added to the series, during which you can expect the band members to play their solo material alongside old Dispatch tunes. And Francis promises some surprises. "We'll have special guests, hopefully some singers from Zimbabwe," Francis divulged. "I may come shooting out of a rocket."
Dispatch are now the first independent band to sell out Madison Square Garden, an accomplishment Francis doesn't take lightly. "I think it's absolutely overwhelming," he said. "It's absolutely thrilling and exciting for all sorts of musicians. I hope other musicians say it can be done."
Tickets for the July 15 show will be made available to the public 9 A.M. EST Jan. 20 via Ticketmaster.
Talk: Should there be a fourth "Dispatch: Zimbabwe" show? COMMENT
On the Web:
Subscribe to Spin
YES! I want to try 2 issues of SPIN RISK-FREE!