Photo Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP
It was a concert for the history books! Music royalty and Hollywood's A-list gathered at Madison Square Garden for the auspiciously timed 12/12/12: The Concert for Sandy Relief, which raised more than $30 millions in ticket sales (and hundreds of millions more in phone pledges) for victims of Hurricane Sandy devastation.
Everyone from native New York and New Jersey acts -- like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel and Alicia Keys -- to celebs who love (or currently live in) N.Y.C. -- like Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kanye West, the Rolling Stones, and Eddie Vedder -- performed during the five-hour-plus concert that benefits the Robin Hood Foundation, a non-profit organization with a simple mission: to end poverty in the New York area.
Every act was worth watching, from Springsteen's opening set with the E Street Band to McCartney's concert-ending jam session with the members of Nirvana. Although the vast majority of acts were white men over the age of 50 (a fact that was noticed by many and complained about on Twitter), Keys was given the honor of closing out the show with her signature "Empire State of Mind."
1. Paul McCartney with Nirvana Reunion: With so many incredible combinations of musicians hitting the stage, it was tough to pick a top performance, but the Beatle accompanying a Nirvana reunion of Dave Grohl (pounding the drums as enthusiastically as the muppet Animal), Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear was the night's most explosive act. (Literally, there was a ton of pyrotechnics at the end!) McCartney didn't sing any Nirvana covers and instead belted out a new song they wrote together, "Cut Me Some Slack"; it was definitely more Nirvana than McCartney!
Watch them perform together:
2. Roger Waters and Eddie Vedder: Another standout duet was by Pink Floyd's Waters and Pearl Jam's Vedder who sang harmoniously together. Vedder is an outspoken Pink Floyd fan and a longtime friend of Waters (Pearl Jam often covers Pink Floyd songs at their concerts), so their collaboration was unsurprisingly one of the best of the long concert. After the concert, Waters told the cable network Fuse, "I knew he would sing the s--t out of the song!"
Watch them sing "Comfortably Numb":
3. The Boss and Bon Jovi Duet: The two musicians most associated with New Jersey teamed up during the concert's opening act to sing "Born to Run" together. After Springsteen and the E Street Band sang an emotional set that included "Land of Hopes and Dreams," "Wrecking Ball" and the appropriate "My City of Ruins," the Boss brought out his fellow Jersey Boy for the duet. It was a moment in Jersey rock heaven to hear the Garden State's native sons singing the rock anthem together.
4. Michael Stipe Surprises Everyone: Everyone knew Coldplay's Chris Martin was scheduled to perform, but what no one knew -- according to presenter (and Robin Hood board member) Brian Williams, even the organizers -- is that Martin was bringing his good friend Stipe out of retirement. The two men sang a rendition of "Losing My Religion" in what was one of the night's biggest surprises.
5. The Who: After showing they can still make it rock with classics like "Who Are You" (featuring some still-impressive windmilling from Pete Townsend) and "Pinball Wizard," Roger Daltrey sang his most emotional song, the ballad "Love Reign O'er Me" from Quadrophenia. With his raw vocals and the touching lyrics, the song -- and the entire set -- was a concert highlight.