With a little help from musical pals like The Boss, Hurricane Sandy telethon Coming Together raised $23 million for relief efforts via the American Red Cross, reports USA Today. The hour-long benefit concert, which aired on NBC Friday night (Nov. 2), featured a lineup of artists famous for their New Jersey and New York roots in a touching tribute to the area devastated by the deadly superstorm last week.
Staten Island-born Christina Aguilera kicked off the concert with a performance of her touching ballad “Beautiful” before Jersey boy Jon Bon Jovi took the stage. Bon Jovi, who reportedly rushed home from London to play the concert, shot a video of himself speaking to Sandy survivors He, too, had felt devastation. Bon Jovi also played what was perhaps the most fitting duo of songs that night: “Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again” and “Living on a Prayer.”
Long Island native Billy Joel performed his famous “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” working in a reference to the badly destroyed Staten Island. He joined Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler and Late Night host Jimmy Fallon on a supergroup rendition of the Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk,” in honor of the decimated boardwalks all along the Jersey Shore.
Though they wear their Boston roots on their sleeves like a badge of honor, several members of Aerosmith came out for an emotional take on “Dream On,” which featured Tyler behind the piano. Sting followed with an acoustic version of The Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” which felt awfully relevant with its talk of “sending out an S.O.S.” The “queen of hip-hop soul” Mary J. Blige followed with her fighter ballad, “The Living Proof.”
Closing the show was Jersey’s native son and unofficial musical mascot, Springsteen, who could have played any number of somber songs about Jersey in his discography (“Death To My Hometown” chief among them). Instead, he and the E Street Band
performed “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a resilient track off The Boss’s latest album, The Wrecking Ball. “God bless New York,” he ended, “God bless the Jersey shore.”
– Jillian Mapes with reporting from Brian Ives, CBS Local; photos by Getty Images