Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened an all-star benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy on Wednesday, in what producers promised was "the greatest line-up of legends ever assembled on a stage."
The "12-12-12" concert at New York's Madison Square Garden features a who's who of rock and pop, including The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Kanye West and Bon Jovi.
"How do I begin again? My city's in ruins?" Springsteen sang. He was joined by Jon Bon Jovi for "Born to Run," ushering in what was to be a night of musical duets.
"Even with the music business not what it used to be... we are proud to be here," he said.
Before the concert, Sykes said $32 million had already been raised from ticket sales and sponsorships. With the concert's potential to reach 2 billion people through broadcast and digital platforms, organizers are hoping to raise tens of millions more.
To help with the fundraising, celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Kristen Stewart, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chelsea Clinton and Billy Crystal are taking part in a telethon during the concert, which is expected to last between four and five hours.
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.
Sykes said personal stories of neighborhoods and people severely affected by Sandy will be showcased during the concert.
Sykes was also involved with "The Concert for New York City" after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which raised more than $30 million for charity.
He said technological advances over the past decade have exponentially changed the reach of fundraising.
"We have both traditional and new media behind us in a way that we've never had before, and that is really going to be the 'x-factor' on how much money we can raise for the victims."
Donations raised from the one-night concert produced by Clear Channel Entertainment and The Weinstein Company, will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which will provide money and materials to groups helping people hardest hit by the storm.
Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jill Serjeant, Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech