Concert Offers Messages Of Hope For Sandy Victims [VIDEO]
From “Livin’ on a Prayer” to “The LivingÂ Proof,” every song Friday at NBC’s benefit concert for superstormÂ Sandy victims became a message song.
New Jersey’s Jon Bon Jovi gave extra meaning to “Who Says YouÂ Can’t Go Home.” Billy Joel worked in a reference to Staten Island,Â the decimated New York City borough. The hourlong event, hosted byÂ Matt Lauer, was heavy on stars and lyrics identified with NewÂ Jersey and the New York metropolitan area, which took the brunt ofÂ this week’s deadly storm.
The telethon was a mix of music, stormÂ footage and calls for donations from Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, WhoopiÂ Goldberg and others.
The mood was somber but hopeful, from Christina Aguilera’sÂ ”Beautiful” to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and a tearfulÂ Mary J. Blige’s “The Living Proof,” her ballad of resilience withÂ the timely declaration that “the worst is over/I can start living
Joel rocked out with “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out onÂ Broadway),” a song born from crisis, New York City’s nearÂ bankruptcy in the 1970s, while Jimmy Fallon endured a faultyÂ microphone and gamely led an all-star performance of the Drifters’Â ”Under the Boardwalk” that featured Joel, Bruce Springsteen andÂ Steven Tyler. The Aerosmith frontman then sat behind a piano andÂ gave his all on a strained but deeply emotional “Dream On.”
StingÂ was equally passionate during an acoustic, muscular version of TheÂ Police hit “Message In a Bottle” and its promise to “send an SOSÂ to the world.”
The show ended, as it only could, with Springsteen and the EÂ Street Band, tearing into “Land Of Hope and Dreams.”Â ”God bless New York,” Springsteen, New Jersey’s ageless nativeÂ son, said in conclusion. “God bless the Jersey shore.”
The stable of NBC Universal networks, including USA, CNBC,Â MSNBC, E! Entertainment, The Weather Channel and Bravo, aired theÂ concert live from the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center in midtownÂ Manhattan, several blocks north of where the city went days withoutÂ power.
NBC Universal invited other networks to televise the event, butÂ not everyone signed on.Â That might have something to do with network rivalries.Â In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the networksÂ organized a benefit together behind the scenes and it was televisedÂ on more than 30 networks simultaneously, including all the bigÂ broadcasters.
After Hurricane Katrina, NBC televised its own benefit beforeÂ the other broadcasters, one that became best known for Kanye West’sÂ off-script declaration that “George Bush doesn’t care about blackÂ people.” The other broadcasters cooperated on their own telethon aÂ week later, and NBC televised that one, too.
Also this year, NBC organized and scheduled a telethon and gaveÂ others the chance to air it.Â Others declined to televise Friday’s telethon, even though ABCÂ parent Walt Disney Co. said it would donate $2 million to theÂ American Red Cross and various ABC shows will promote a “Day ofÂ Giving” on Monday. The CBS Corp., Viacom Inc., parent of “Jersey
Shore” network MTV, Fox network owner News Corp. also announced
big donations to the Red Cross.