12-12-12 Concert: Watch Paul McCartney Jam With Reunited Nirvana and Other Highlights From Sandy Relief Benefit

Category: Entertainment / Dec 13, 2012 12:47PM EDT
Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones joined with actors and comedians in headlining a benefit concert on Wednesday (December 12) for victims of Superstorm Sandy, which six weeks ago devastated scores of communities along the coastline of the U.S. northeast coastline. The celebrity-packed "12-12-12" concert at New York's Madison Square Garden stretched on for nearly five hours, and organizers said it was distributed to nearly 2 billion people worldwide through television feeds, radio and online streaming. "How do I begin again? My city's in ruins," Springsteen sang to the packed crowd. He was joined by fellow New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi for "Born to Run," ushering in a night of musical duets. Next up, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters performed alongside Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and later Paul McCartney jammed with the surviving members of "Nirvana." "This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden," Mick Jagger told the crowd. The Stones, in the midst of a brief U.S. tour, performed "You Got Me Rocking" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Chris Martin of Coldplay jokingly suggested audience members should calculate the average age of the night's performers and agree to donate that much. He then brought on REM frontman Michael Stipe for a duet of "Losing My Religion." At the end of the concert, R&B singer Alicia Keys closed the show with "Empire State of Mind." To help with the fundraising, celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Chelsea Clinton and Billy Crystal took part in a telethon during the concert. Backstage, actress Susan Sarandon recounted losing power in her New York home but said that was a small hardship compared with the real victims who lost their homes. Steven Van Zandt, guitarist of the E Street Band, scolded "the oil companies" and "Wall Street guys" for not doing more to help. "It's a little bit more personal because literally the Jersey Shore is where we grew up. But we'd be there anyway, and you know, we're always there when they ask. And you know, I'm proud of that. You don't see the oil companies there, you don't see the insurance companies there. The guys who are like, the Wall Street guys. With all due respect they aren't waiting in line to help anybody, you know, where there, you know, and I mean that as an industry. And it makes it proud to be part of the music industry and the entertainment world in general," Van Zandt said. The concert was broadcast live on television, radio, movie theaters, on Facebook and iHeartRadio, and streamed on digital billboards in New York's Times Square, London and Paris. Rocky Byers from Texas flew to New York just to see the show: "Yes I bought a ticket last night (from Texas) to come to New York, I came on a whim. I was hoping to get in but whatever. I am just here, it's kind of nice. It's my first visit." German tourist Frederik Boehm thought the concert was a good idea: "I think it's a cool idea to put all these artists together and all the people can listen to it and donate.' More than 130 people were killed when Sandy pummeled the East Coast of the United States in October. Thousands more were left homeless as the storm tore through areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, causing billions of dollars in damage. Throughout the show, celebrities shared memories of growing up in New York City or the Jersey Shore, and offered shout-outs to first responders. "You got the spirit going. I hope everybody has a happy holiday season together with their loved ones. And we're going to be ok, we're going to get through all this," said New York native, singer Billy Joel. As the show neared its finale, organizers said it had raised $30 million from corporate sponsors, ticket sales and donations. The total raised from called-in pledges will take more time to calculate, said a spokesman for the Robin Hood foundation, the concert's major beneficiary. Donations raised from the concert produced by Clear Channel Entertainment and the Weinstein Co, will all go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which will provide money and materials to groups helping people hardest hit by the storm. New Jersey is expected to take 40 percent of the total, while the rest will be divided up between New York City, Long Island and Connecticut.