Less than a week after the unforgiving storm hit the East Coast, stars rallied to raise money for the American Red Cross including New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, Long Islander Billy Joel, Staten Island-born Christina Aguilera, New Yorker Mary J. Blige, along with Upper East Side resident Sting, and members of Aerosmith, from Boston.
The somber televised event, that included video montages of Sandy’s aftermath and was hosted by Matt Lauer, was a very subdued and small-scaled production. But where they lacked in production value, they exceeded in song.
Many of the songs performed were rewritten to include the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused. Joel changed the opening verse of “Miami 2017” into a storm where “out in the Rockaways, the oceans overflowed” and “Staten Island drowned.”
Aguilera sang "Beautiful,” Bon Jovi performed “Livin' on a Prayer" and a teary-eyed Blige belted "The Living Proof," a ballad that includes the lyrics "the worst is over/I can start living now." Other sets included Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” and Sting’s “Message In a Bottle.”
Comedians Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart were also in attendance, along with actor Danny DeVito, and NBC newsman Brian Williams, all of whom have strong ties to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Surprisingly, and yet fittingly, Fallon took the lead during a supergroup rendition of the Drifters' doo-wop classic "Under the Boardwalk," while Joel sang the bass notes and Springsteen and Steven Tyler, among others, crowded around microphones.
Fallon later tweeted: Phew! That was a lot of pressure. Not my idea to sing lead.
An emotional Springsteen, and the E Street Band, closed the show with his moving song “Land Of Hope and Dreams."
“God bless New York," Springsteen said and "God bless the Jersey shore."