Only the true rock and roll junkies were able to make it through Wednesday night’s marathon 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief To Benefit The Robin Hood Relief Fund. Clocking in at just under a whopping six hours, the world’s most beloved musical acts came together to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm in October which devastated the shores of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The sold out Madison Square Garden show was simulcast across various television, internet and radio outlets for the masses to enjoy along with those in the arena, and ended around 1:15am.
Kicking off the night with “Land of Hope and Dreams”, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set the tone of the evening with lyrics like “Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine and all this darkness past.” Springsteen, Jersey’s Favorite Son, gave special mention to Asbury Park, NJ, which experienced damage from Sandy. Springsteen started his career there, playing the local clubs during a time when the small beach town was struggling to survive. But thanks to the artistic and gay communities as well as the many local businesses that line the boardwalk, the town has experienced a revival. For a special surprise, he brought out fellow New Jersey boy Jon Bon Jovi to help him sing what is practically NJ’s unofficial anthem, “Born To Run.”
The surprise duet was just one of the special moments of the night that also saw R.E.M’s Michael Stipe come out of retirement to sing “Losing My Religion” with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder joining Roger Waters on “Comfortably Numb”, Springsteen re-joining Jon Bon Jovi to sing “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with the rest of Bon Jovi, as well as the most anticipated performance of the night, a reunion of the living members of Nirvana (Dave Grohl, Krist Novaselic and Pat Smear) with Paul McCartney on vocals, dubbed “Sirvana” by some.
Other acts included Billy Joel, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, Eric Clapton, and Kanye West. Many celebrity presenters were also on hand to introduce video clips of the destruction Sandy caused, such as Billy Crystal, Kristen Stewart, Steve Buscemi, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and Susan Sarandon. As if there weren’t enough celebrities on stage, there were more backstage, answering calls and taking donations from viewers at home. The cast of Saturday Night Live helped out as well as the cast of the Sopranos and Jake Gyllenhaal, who sat in with a group of supermodels manning the phones as newscaster Brian Williams encouraged the audience at home to donate.
The evening ended with an all-star singalong to Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind (Part II)” as Paul McCartney joked around on stage with local firefighters, donning a Seaside Heights police hat as he took photos and sang along to the lyrical tribute to New York City.
To donate (every little bit helps!) visit the official website at http://www.121212concert.org and give online!
Check out photos from The Concert For Sandy Relief here. Follow me on Twitter at @ConcertExaminer!