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Published: 2012/12/13

Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters and More Play Historic 12.12.12 Concert at MSG

Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Bon Jovi, Christ Martin, Michael Stipe, Dave Grohl and more took the stage last night at Madison Square Garden for the 12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief. The all-star line up put on the epic show to raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund’s hurricane recovery efforts. In addition to the myriad musicians who made appearances, there were also a significant number of actors, comedians and others who brought their star power to the event. As NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted early in the show, “You really can’t swing a dead cat in here without hitting a celebrity.”

Bruce Springsteen kicked off the music with a four-song set that included a rendition of “My City of Ruins,” with a verse from Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.” The New Jersey native closed out his set with Jon Bon Jovi joining him for a duet of “Born to Run.”

Next up was Roger Waters, who brought some grandiosity to the concert as he hit the stage with “In the Flesh,” the opening track from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Waters mixed up some tunes from the album—which he has been playing on tour for many years—with the Dark Side of the Moon tracks “Money” and “Us and Them.” In one of the highlights of the night, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder took up vocal duties (where David Gilmour did on the recording) on “Comfortably Numb” to close Waters’ set.

Adam Sandler and Paul Schaffer took a shot at providing some comic relief as the two comedians performed a song about the resilience of New Yorkers to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The duo were followed by Bon Jovi, who played through a few hits, with Springsteen joining him for the ever appropriate “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

Of all the old rock and rollers who contributed to the 12.12.12 event, Eric Clapton appears to have aged the most gracefully. The legendary guitarist proved he could still play with the best of them, picking away on blues classics like Jimmy Cox’s “Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out” and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads.” He definitely looked more stage-ready than Mick Jagger, who seemed to be expending every ounce of energy left in his body during the Stones’ two song set, which included their first live “You Got Me Rocking” since 2007. Jagger made light of the evening’s septuagenarian heavy lineup, noting that the concert was likely the largest collection of aging English musicians in the history of Madison Square Garden.

The Who were up next with what was probably the longest set of the night. The rock icons—who will be on the cover of the forthcoming January-February issue of Relix—played through a few classics, including numbers such as “Bell Boy” and “Love Reign O’er Me” from Quadrophenia which they’re currently performing in its entirety on tour. Roger Daltrey set Twitter ablaze when he unbuttoned his shirt, showing off his bare chest to crowd. Things like that aren’t usually considered kosher for such an event but you have to admire a man who pulls a move like that on national television. Now that’s confidence. (Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend also let a few uncensored F-Bombs fly as well.)

Daltrey, however, was not the only artist set on making a fashion statement last night. Kanye West powered through his hits-filled performance wearing some kind of leather skirt— though perhaps “kilt” is a more appropriate label. Either way, West had a hard time finding a place for himself in the middle of a lineup that, with the exception of Alicia Keys, was more or less rock oriented.

The lull in the hard rock continued through Billy Joel’s set, which was probably the second longest of the night. While the music wasn’t as loud or as fast as much of what came before, the singer/songwriters’ presence still felt appropriate. Joel even brought some holiday cheer into the mix, adding a verse from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to his song “New York State of Mind.” He was followed by Chris Martin, who did acoustic versions of a few Coldplay songs. In what was perhaps the biggest genuine surprise of the night, R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe came out to join Martin for a rendition of “Losing My Religion.”

The show came to a close after almost five hours with Sir Paul McCartney—easily the most anticipated act of the night. News of McCartney’s impending performance with a reunited Nirvana was leaked early yesterday, and fans across the globe eagerly anticipated what the collaboration would bring. Opening with “Helter Skelter” his set included a solo acoustic reading of “Blackbird” and “My Valentine” with Diana Krall before he was joined by Dave Grohl and ‪Krist Novoselic‬. Unfortunately the group did not delve into any of Nirvana’s old material, instead debuting their new song “Cut Me Some Slack” which came across surprisingly well. His band returned for “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Live and Let Die.”

Alicia Keys then took the stage for an encore rendition of “New York State of Mind,” though the audience was little disappointed that the event did not end with an all-star finale, as is often the case with these kinds of benefit shows.

In addition to the music, there were also a number of comedy routines, as well as various uplifting stories of hope and heroism in the wake of the hurricane throughout the night. Unfortunately a majority of the attempts at comic relief were utter failures, especially the cringe-worthy “Drunk Uncle” sketch featuring Seth Myers and Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night Live. However the funniest moment of the night was totally unplanned, as actor Steve Buscemi awkwardly tried to deliver a speech while surrounded by a group of rowdy, and possibly intoxicated, volunteer first responders from New York City.

While many of the performances were not as stellar as anticipated, it was still a historic night for music fans everywhere. The impressive collection of rock and roll legends is unmatched in recent memory, and the event certainly raised a lot of money for a worthy cause. A number of the night’s highlights can be viewed here, and the evenings full setlist can be viewed below.

12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief setlist

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band ◦ Land of Hope and Dreams ◦ Wrecking Ball ◦ My City of Ruins ◦ Born To Run (w/ Jon Bon Jovi)

Roger Waters ◦ In The Flesh ◦ The Happiest Days of Our Lives ◦ Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2 ◦ The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes ◦ Money ◦ Us and Them ◦ Comfortably Numb (w/ Eddie Vedder)

Adam Sandler with Paul Shaffer ◦ Hallelujah

Bon Jovi ◦ It’s My Life ◦ Wanted Dead or Alive ◦ Who Says You Can’t Go Home (w/ Bruce Springsteen) ◦ Living On A Prayer

Eric Clapton ◦ Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out ◦ Got To Get Better In A Little While ◦ Crossroads

Rolling Stones ◦ You Get Me Rocking ◦ Jumping Jack Flash

Alicia Keys ◦ Brand New Me ◦ No One

The Who ◦ Who Are You ◦ Bell Boy ◦ Pinball Wizard ◦ See Me Feel Me/Listening To You ◦ Baba O’Riley ◦ Love Reign O’er Me ◦ Tea and Theatre

Kanye West ◦ Clique > Mercy > Power > Jesus Walks > All Of The Lights > Diamonds From Sierra Leone > Diamonds > Touch The Sky ◦ Gold Digger ◦ Good Life ◦ Runaway ◦ Stronger

Billy Joel ◦ Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) ◦ Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) ◦ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas > New York State Of Mind ◦ River Of Dreams ◦ You May Be Right ◦ Only The Good Die Young

Chris Martin ◦ Viva La Vida ◦ Losing My Religion (w/ Michael Stipe) ◦ Us Against The World • Paul McCartney ◦ Helter Skelter ◦ Let Me Roll It ◦ 1985 ◦ My Valentine (w/ Diana Krall) ◦ Blackbird ◦ Cut Me Some Slack (w/ Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic) ◦ I’ve Got A Feeling ◦ Live and Let Die

Alicia Keys ◦ Empire State Of Mind


There are 17 comments associated with this post

me December 13, 2012, 17:43:15

Um… JKL and Steve b… Keith Moon DID play… I’m guessing you only listened and didn’t watch… it was an interactive thing, I think during Bell Boy or Tea and Theatre… on the screen above the stage, Moon would sing/play drums interactively with Roger… it was actually kinda cool… but I wasn’t sure why they highlighted him but not Entwistle… maybe just a lack of video to be able to do it. Matters… are you really that much of a douche? Should NY/NJ not do what they can to help their own simply because it didn’t happen elsewhere? Pathetic comment…

Steve b December 13, 2012, 18:36:33

Well actually there was a concert for Katrina and many smaller ones after… Same goes for the tsunami: Americans and humans in general are altruistic and help eachother out when it matters most, it’s not just a NY/NJ thing although as a Bronx resident I echo your call for “patting the back” for our resiliency .

Steve b December 13, 2012, 18:39:42

Well actually there was a concert for Katrina and many smaller ones after… Same goes for the tsunami: Americans and humans in general are altruistic and help eachother out when it matters most, it’s not just a NY/NJ thing although as a Bronx resident I echo your call for “patting the back” for our resiliency .

Flotsem December 13, 2012, 19:02:27

Keith Moon stole the show!!!!!!!!!!!

steve b December 14, 2012, 09:46:46

as a bronx resident I agree that we all in the tri state area deserve a pat on the back for fighting through BUT come on man, its about humanity not just NY pride. Humans help humans when its needed most.. You unfortunately must have forget about these 2 concerts: KATRINA TSUNAMI

Meredith December 13, 2012, 12:46:21

great review

Steve December 13, 2012, 12:33:10

Wish the EC Trio had more time.

TCinNYC December 13, 2012, 13:13:22

Great cause, great show, not the greatast performances of all time, but still alot of fun to watch with my family in my living room. I hope there is never a need for a show like that again, but God forbid there is, its time to get younger. We all have our wish list, but mine would start with Phish, Pearl Jam, DMB, Jack Johnson, The Chili Peppers etc. But no complaints. A great night indeed.

me December 13, 2012, 13:15:39

Missed the Boss’ set, thought Waters was good (if predictable) and who is his singer that looks like Eddie Vetter in rough shape? Thought it was him till Vetter came out! I’m no fan of Bon Jovi but I try to give everything a chance (see my Joel comment below) and that performance reassured me of why… his voice sounds different live than on a studio track, and it’s really not that good IMO... sure he can hit notes, but with a nasally whine and the music seems so “controlled”... I have a feeling that Sambora in another setting could be enjoyable. I was a bit disappointed with the Stones… if that’s the level of musicianship that is going into those $1000/seat shows, then there are some folks getting royally screwed! I thought EC was great, The Who still have a hell of a stage presence for their age and the fact there are only two original members… Roger appears to know he can’t hit some of the highs, so it was nice to see him figure out a way to sing within his range, rather than slaughtering songs with notes too high to reach. I love Drunk Uncle on SNL, but it was painful to watch at this event! As for good comedy, Stewart, and especially Cobert, did well IMO... and Sandler’s song was pretty funny! I’m no Billy Joel fan, but I was more impressed with his set than I thought I would be. Kanye did nothing to impress me, but I thought he was a bit better than the Stones. Never really paid attention to Martin before, but thought he was pretty good! McCartney sounded great, and I was really surprised how well he and Nirvana sounded… should have done a couple songs. Keyes did a nice job, just not a fan. Overall, thought it was a great thing to spend the night watching! And, yes, I think those guys were definitely enjoying themselves with Buscemi… and they sure deserve a chance to let loose, have fun and smile… God knows they’ve earned that right! Hope they raised a lot of money to help all those affected by Sandy! Oh, and it seemed like they had a delay on the delay! Not many of the words meant to be bleeped were actually bleeped, more like the words after the word that should have been… wondered if it was bring your kid to work day, and the delay guy had his 5 year running it… not that I was offended, actually thought it was funny!

Umrk December 13, 2012, 13:20:26

For a 70 year old man, Paul McCartney did a respectable job of rocking the house! Sure, they were note for note renditions, but they were perfect note for note renditions! At 70, he continues to show everyone how its done!

Umrk December 13, 2012, 13:22:06

For a 70 year old man, Paul McCartney did a respectable job of rocking the house! Sure, they were note for note renditions, but they were perfect note for note renditions! At 70, he continues to show everyone how its done!

Matt December 13, 2012, 13:22:20

EC was a definite highlight. He sounded strong and looked the most comfortable in his own skin, and the least wrinkled…Kudos to all for a selfless evening.

TVviewer December 13, 2012, 14:15:35

I thought many of the so called comedians were very inappropriate. Why couldnt they keep their religion out of it? Blame the jews? WTF paranoid crap is that? And sandler with his Hannukah show comment, these religious nuts almost ruined the night for EVERYONE else by trying to make it all about their religion when it was about ALL people.

Pm December 13, 2012, 14:37:19

Loved the Eric Clapton power trio, wish he would tour with that band.

JKL December 13, 2012, 16:26:38

So did I hear the Host at the Phones, Brian Williams comment that it was great to hear Keith Moon play? Really??

Steve b December 13, 2012, 16:42:20

JKL- thank u cause when no one else mentioned the Moon comment I was beginning to think I hallucinated the remark- Uncle Keith- WTF!?!?

MAtters December 13, 2012, 17:16:13

Anyone hear of the typhoon that hit the Philippines and was more destructive? Was there a concert for New Orleans in the aftermath of KAtrina? Hmmmmmmm…....Go pat yourself on the back, New York and New Jersey.

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