Last night (December 12th) was clearly a night for the record books at Madison Square Garden, with show-stopping sets by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney -- with the surviving members of Nirvana, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, and more at the 12-12-12: A Concert For Hurricane Sandy Relief.
Also appearing were Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Coldplay's Chris Martin with a surprise appearance by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe.
In addition to the musicians, the nearly five-hour televised concert featured such celebrity appearances by Billy Crystal, Susan Sarandon, former New York Ranger Mike Richter, Whoopi Goldberg, most of the cast the cast of The Sopranos, Jon Stewart, Jamie Foxx, Quintin Tarantino, Chelsea Clinton, Steve Buscemi, Jake Gyllenhaal, Blake Lively, Jason Sudeikis, Katie Holmes, and many others.
Among the highlights of the evening was Bruce Springsteen's opening set, which included the New Jersey tribute "My City Of Ruins," originally written in the mid-'90s about Asbury Park, which went on to become and early 9/11 anthem, and last night became a symbol for the loss and devastation for the survivors on the Eastern Seaboard. Springsteen drove the point home with a chorus of the Tom Waits standard -- and E Street Band classic -- "Jersey Girls." Jon Bon Jovi joined "The Boss" for a set-closing rendition of "Born To Run," and Springsteen returned the favor by sitting in with Bon Jovi for a rousing rendition of "You Can't Go Home."
The main thread running throughout the night was the stream of guest cameos over the course of the concert, with Eddie Vedder sitting in during Roger Waters' take on Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," Paul Schafer backing Adam Sandler's Sandy-centric rewriting of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and Michael Stipe joining Chris Martin on an acoustic version of "Losing My Religion."
Eric Clapton was an early highlight, tackling two Derek & The Dominos classics -- the Jimmie Cox blues nugget, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out," Clapton's Dominos original "Got To Get Better In A Little While," and finally the Robert Johnson and Cream favorite "Crossroads." The latter two songs featured Clapton backed tightly by drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Willie Weeks.
The Rolling Stones -- who were late additions to the show -- decided to save the goods for their December 15th pay-per-view show in Newark, New Jersey and performed only two numbers; the 1994 Voodoo Lounge track "You Got Me Rocking" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" -- but seemed to have been on and gone before they got properly warmed up.
Alicia Keys solo piano versions of "Brand New Me" and "No One" were sandwiched between the Stones and the Who -- who along with Billy Joel and Paul McCartney were the only acts to perform fully formed mini-sets.
From their current Quadrophenia revival tour, the Who played, among their other gems, "Bell Boy" featuring a virtual Keith Moon singing along on the screen. A good-natured Pete Townshend -- who had changed the lyrics to "Baba O'Riley" to "It's only SANDY wasteland!" -- left the stage with an order to the crowd to "have a f***ing beer!"
As he did on the Sandy telethon, Billy Joel performed his rewritten version of "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Down On Broadway)" which now touches upon the effects of Sandy on the New York community.
Paul McCartney welcomed jazz pianist -- and Elvis Costello's wife -- Diana Krall onstage to help him perform his latest single, "My Valentine," and squeezed in between his Beatles and Wings evergreens was a slightly-interesting, and noisy jam with Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear, on a song called "Cut Me Some Slack." The tune featured McCartney playing slide guitar on what looked like a custom made box guitar.
McCartney ended the show draped with adoring first responders as Alicia Keys, backed by members of McCartney's band performed the anthemic "Empire State Of Mind, Pt. 2."
- Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: "Land Of Hope And Dreams," "Wrecking Ball," "My City of Ruins," and "Born To Run" with Jon Bon Jovi.
- Roger Waters: "In The Flesh," "The Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2," "The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes," "Money," "Us And Them," and "Comfortably Numb" with Eddie Vedder.
- Adam Sandler & Paul Schafer: "Hallelujah."
- Bon Jovi: "It's My Life," "Wanted: Dead Or Alive," "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Bruce Springsteen, and "Living On A Prayer."
- Eric Clapton: "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Got To Get Better In A Little While," and "Crossroads."
- The Rolling Stones: "You Got Me Rocking" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
- Alicia Keys: "Brand New Me" and "No One."
- The Who: "Who Are You," "Bell Boy," "Pinball Wizard," "See Me Feel Me/Listening To You," "Baba O'Riley," "Love Reign O'er Me," "Tea & Theatre."
- Kanye West: Medley: "Clique/Mercy/Power/Jesus Walks/All Of The Lights/Diamonds From Sierra Leone/Diamonds/Touch The Sky/Gold Digger/Good Life/Runaway/Stronger" (via GlideMagazine.com)
- Billy Joel: "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)," "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "New York State Of Mind," "The River Of Dreams," "You May Be Right," and "Only The Good Die Young."
- Chris Martin: "Viva La Vida," "Losing My Religion" with Michael Stipe, and "Us Against The World."
- Paul McCartney: "Helter Skelter," "Let Me Roll It," "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five," "My Valentine" Diana Krall, "Blackbird," "Cut Me Some Slack" with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear, "I've Got A Feeling," and "Live And Let Die."
- Alicia Keys: "Empire State Of Mind Pt. 2"