Photo Credit: Handout/Getty Images Entertainment
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, after dozens were killed and many remain without power or other basic conveniences, the NBCUniversal networks joined together for a quickly prepared one-hour live benefit telethon last night.
"Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together" aired at 8 PM ET live on the East Coast and delayed on the West, on NBC Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA. And the event is live streaming on NBC.com. "Today" anchor Matt Lauer hosted from the New York studios of NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
“One of the great ironies of this telethon is that the people who need the help most can’t watch it,” said host Lauer. “They don’t have power.”
Performances came from artists including Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Sting. Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams were among those who also appeared. Many of those have personal connections to the storm beyond general empathy: They come from now-ravaged areas.
As these sorts of events go, the stage was spare -- put together in only a few days -- and kept the focus on the goal of raising money for the victims. Musical performances were intercut with news footage of devastation, and showed evidence of so many victims' suffering.
Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band wrapped with the show with the song “Land of Hope and Dreams,” with lyrics including "Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine, and all this darkness past." A fitting, inspirational message for a painful moment in history.
Money collected will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy; NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told USA Today he hoped the event would raise "tens of millions of dollars."
To donate to the American Red Cross response, visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Twiiter: @alicedubin.