Sandy benefit concert: Rock legends hit the right notes

Sandy benefit concert: From Paul McCartney to Alicia Keys, the "12-12-12" benefit concert in Madison Square Garden for victims of superstorm Sandy was a night of great performances. 

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Jon Bon Jovi joins Bruce Springsteen (r.) on stage during the "12-12-12" benefit concert for victims of superstorm Sandy at Madison Square Garden in New York December 12.

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 StonesAlicia KeysChris MartinBilly JoelEric ClaptonKanye 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.

Next up, Roger Waters performed alongside Eddie Vedder, and later in the evening Paul McCartney was due to jam with Dave Grohl.

Comedian Adam Sandler took the stage for a Sandy-themed spoof on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," rhyming the title with "Sandy, Screw Ya!"

Backstage, actress Susan Sarandon recounted losing power in her New York home but said that was a small hardship compared to 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.

"Even with the music business not what it used to be... we are proud to be here," he said.

Producer John Sykes said Waters, McCartney and Chris Martin of Coldplay had reached out to "other legends to join them on stage and create once-in-a-lifetime moments."

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 DiCaprioKristen StewartJake GyllenhaalChelsea Clinton and Billy Crystal are taking part in a telethon during the concert, which is expected to last between four and five hours.

It is being broadcast live on television, radio, movie theaters, on Facebook and iHeartRadio, and streamed on digital billboards in New York's Times SquareLondon and Paris.

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

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