September 08, 2005 06:00 PM

Fans who attend the Sept. 11 American Idols Live concert in Syracuse, N.Y., will not only help benefit Hurricane Katrina victims, but they’ll also get a special surprise: Bo Bice, who had to bow out of the tour last month to undergo emergency abdominal surgery, will reunite with his fellow contestants. The 29-year-old Bice, who will make his first performance since having an intestinal blockage removed, called to relay the good news.

First of all, Bo, how are you feeling these days?
Oh man, it’s been a wild little trip. I spent six days in the hospital after the surgery. I got home and I had a couple of weeks to recuperate. I’ve had people call me like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ryan Seacrest and Ben Stiller and his wife (Christine Taylor), and then the support from friends and the fans – the fan mail has been ridiculous. When I woke up right after the surgery and I had tubes running out my throat and my nose; it was rough because I was depressed (that) I was off the tour.

You love to perform. It must have been killing you to be in a hospital bed.
I felt like I had let people down. For all I knew, the tour might be the last time I get to play in front of those types of crowds.

I understand Hurricane Katrina inspired you in many ways.
I’m a CNN junkie. I wrote a song about it and I’m going to sing it Sunday. It’s called “We Can’t Change This World.” I’m talking about we can’t change this world if we can’t change our minds. The first step is realizing there is a problem. The problem doesn’t have to be something that we’re going to solve (right away), but to sit around and say it’s never going to be solved – man, if we quit trying, we’d be worthless.

Sunday’s concert will benefit the American Red Cross. What else can people do?
I told my fans the best thing they can do is help the Red Cross. I moved from Birmingham to Nashville, and living in my house in Helena (Alabama) right now is a family from Grand Isles (on the coast of Louisiana). These people had to uproot their lives because of the hurricane. My wife’s dad is doing the same thing with helping people out and bringing them into their home. It’s not about money, it’s about what you can do.

I’m not a rich man, but I’m rich with what God has given me – great family and great friends. If I can be a mouthpiece to motivate people, that’s the smallest thing I can do. But I was put on this earth to do more than sing songs. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. The first chance I get I’m going down there.

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