Paul McCartney joined Dave Grohl and former members of Nirvana in the climax of “12.12.12,” the benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy Wednesday night.
McCartney came on the stage roughly five hours after the show began following a long list of celebrity performers. Bruce Springsteen opened the show with a stunning set. The acts who followed included Billy Crystal, Adam Sandler, Kanye West, Stephen Colbert, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys and Eddie Vedder.
His full regular band was there with Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson on guitars, Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums and Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards.
McCartney launched straight into “Helter Skelter” with some blazing guitar work from Brian Ray, then followed that with “Let Me Roll It.” “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” followed. Next, Diana Krall joined him onstage on piano for “My Valentine” from “Kisses on the Bottom.” Paul then dedicated “Blackbird” to the “people going through the struggles” from Hurricane Sandy.
His voice sounded a little rough, maybe tired. In a chat with the crowd, he thanked them for staying through the long show.
Then came the moment everyone had been expecting. McCartney said he had been rehearsing with guys from Nirvana and would play a song live for the first time. He then introduced Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear playing a song that was a blistering rocker. The McCartney-Nirvana union/reunion had been rumored the day of the show and was no secret.
The Nirvana members left the stage and McCartney continued his set with “I’ve Got a Feeling.” Then came “Live and Let Die” complete with more than the usual share of pyrotechnics.
McCartney then introduced the heroes of Hurricane Sandy, the police and firemen who had worked the devastating event.
To finish the show, McCartney brought back Alicia Keys, who was born in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City, to sing a song about New York. Billy Crystal then thanked everyone for putting on the show and pleaded for donations.
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