They came to raise money, they played, and they just plain kicked ass.
Two of New Jersey’s favorite sons, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Bon Jovi got the rebuilding going in the northeast as the two entertainers performed in the opening of the unprecedented 121212 Concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief.
The Boss kicked off the festivities with a power-packed set that was part call to arms and part revival as he ignited the crowd in Madison Square Garden with “Land of Hope and Dreams” and closed it with “Born To Run.”
In a gesture that spoke to the inclusiveness of the Asbury Park music and cultural scene that had been gutted by Hurricane Sandy, Springsteen invited New Jersey’s other favorite son, Jon Bon Jovi, to join him for the “last chance power drive”.
Sporting a black leather shirt, tight black jeans and a head of hair that is the envy of all men, the two ripped the doors off in what clearly was one of the night’s many classic highlights.
In a set scheduling that can only be described as odd, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters followed with superbly crafted set of that band’s psychedelia that left many in the Twitterverse wondering why Bon Jovi wasn’t lined up directly after his appearance with Springsteen.
When Bon Jovi finally took the stage with the legendary foils Jon Bon Jovi and stalwart companion guitarist Richie Sambora bringing the grooves, virtually everyone in Madison Square Garden was on their feet singing along to “It’s My Life,” “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
Guitarist Richie Sambora was in fine trim, playing stout and searing guitar while providing backing vocals that lent strength to the best vocal performance Jon Bon Jovi has delivered since early in the band’s ‘The Circle’ tour.
Returning the favor, Bon Jovi invited Bruce Springsteen up on stage for “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”
Their “Born To Run” duet was inevitably going to be a hard act to follow, and though the song was appropriate for inspiring those hit by Hurricane Sandy to hope and pray they could return to devastated homes and lives, one wonders what kind of power might have erupted from a rousing “I Love This Town” instead.
Ever the politician and philanthropist in addition to being one of this generation’s great entertainers, Jon Bon Jovi thanked New York Governor Andrew Coumo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for putting aside political partisanship and focusing on recovery and rebuilding efforts for the voters who put them in office.
The 121212 Concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief was held to raise funds for the Robin Hood Foundation, a non-profit that will donate 100% of the proceeds to the relief and restoration to homes and lives torn asunder by the storm of the century.