Whether you were a classic rock aficionado, a terrified Nirvana fan, or part of the cast of The Sopranos, you were probably up very late last night watching the all-star benefit 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief at MSG. It was by turns defiant, musically enthralling, and head-scratching, filled with aging rockers, surprise team-ups, and awkward Adam Sandler bits. Below, check out video highlights from the five hour-plus show, as well as a list of the best and most bizarre moments from the evening.
So, besides the anticipated Paul McCartney/Nirvana team-up, there was QUITE a lot to unpack from the concert. Below, we've listed our 10 favorite/most bizarre things about the show:
- Roger Daltrey's ageless bronze chest, crafted in the fires of Mordor.
- Kanye West's leather skirt.
- The fact that the brightest star of the night wasn't McCartney, the Stones or even Bruce Springsteen—it was Billy Joel! All anyone could talk about on Twitter was how much they want him to tour next year.
- Steve Buscemi getting bear hugged by (probably drunk) first responders.
- Pete Townsend encouraging that, telling everyone to "drink a fucking beer."
- Michael Stipe joining Chris Martin for an acoustic "Losing My Religion."
- Brian Williams killing it in between segments (and occasionally rambling about swinging dead cats).
- The ubiquity of skinny jeans on 60+ year-old dudes. And Stephen Colbert commenting on not being able to get things done in them.
- Macca not burning down MSG despite the "Live and Let Die" fireworks extravaganza.
- Alicia Keys closing the show with "Empire State Of Mind" while Macca took photos with first responders on stage.
Now for the rest: Mick Jagger really nailed it during the Stones set: “This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden.” NJ native Jon Stewart brought a slightly more serious tone to the show: "When are you going to learn," he said. "You can throw anything at us — terrorists, hurricanes. You can take away our giant sodas. It doesn't matter. We're coming back stronger every time."
Bruce Springsteen started things off on a ridiculously high note with a four song-set including "Land of Hopes and Dreams," "Wrecking Ball" (whose location changed from Giants Stadium to Jersey Shore), "My City of Ruins" (which included snippets of Tom Waits classic "Jersey Girl") and "Born to Run" (with Jersey brother-in-arms Jon Bon Jovi). "I pray that that characteristic remains along the Jersey Shore because that's what makes it special," Springsteen said, referring to the Shore's inclusiveness in the face of hardship.
Roger Waters treated fans to tons of songs from The Wall, a couple of Dark Side classics ("Us and Them," "Money"), and ended things by bringing Eddie Vedder out for "Comfortably Numb." You can watch that last one below:
For some reason, Adam Sandler (wearing a NY Jets shirt—the guy really doesn't wear anything but t-shirts, does he?) did a parody of Leonard Cohen's eternal "Hallelujah" called "Sandy Screw Ya!" In case you thought it was hilarious, and want to re-watch it, go ahead below:
Bon Jovi came back next for some of their biggest hits ("It's My Life," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Livin’ on a Prayer"). He also brought Springsteen back out to join him on the cheery "Who Says You Can't Go Home." Eric Clapton did a short three-song set, highlighted by an acoustic "Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out."
Then came the shortest, and possibly best, set of the evening: The Rolling Stones only played "You Got Me Rocking" (for the first time since 2007) and the hurricane appropriate "Jumpin' Jack Flash," but both were lively and in-line with the tone of the evening. There wasn't too much finger pointing, but Jagger's leathery face still loves the camera. That was followed by an equally-short Alicia Keys solo piano set—"No One" was pretty good, even if her entreaties for people to put their cell phones in the air was kinda horrible.
The Who seemed to have the longest set of the night, with the highlights being "Who Are You," Townsend screaming about "Sandy wasteland" on "Baba O'Reilly," and a cameo from Keith Moon (via archival footage) on "Bell Boy." Oh, but Daltrey's chest defiantly stole the set, slowly slipping out of its cloth tomb to shine on the audience like a lighthouse beacon.
We thought Daltrey's chest would be the peak of the evening's sartorial weirdness, but Kanye West would never let that stand—he came out in a leather skirt that quickly inspired some parody accounts. It definitely wasn't his best performance, but he got more comfortable as the set went on, climaxing with good versions of "Runaway" and "Stronger."
After a pretty terrible visit from SNL's Drunk Uncle (played by Bobby Moyniham, who put his best forward despite it just not working) and a terrifying look into Jake Gyllenhaal's beard's soul, Billy Joel killed it with a perfect six-song set. He incorporated a bit of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," he played a Sandy-appropriate re-written version of "Miami 2017," he put “Breezy Point” into the lyrics of “New York State of Mind," and he got the crowd dancing and singing along. “We’re going to get through all this,” he said. “This is New York and New Jersey and Long Island and we’re just too mean to lay down and die.”
Chris Martin came out for a short three-song acoustic set, whose highlight by far was Stipe coming out for "Losing My Religion"—at times, it seemed as though Stipe was lost in Martin's eyes, thoroughly enjoying watching him sing harmonies. Then Macca came out for the evening's last eight-song set. It was a really odd setlist, filled with lesser-known Wings classics (an excellent "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," "Let Me Roll It"), some more rocking Beatles songs (an awesome "Helter Skelter," an eh "I've Got A Feeling"), two ballads (recent tune "My Valentine" with Diana Krall, and an always welcome "Blackbird"), and the aforementioned grungy team-up with Nirvana.
The night came to a close sometime after 1:30 a.m., more than an hour and a half after it was supposed to end. Keys came back for "Empire State of Mind Part II” while the stage filled with first responders and McCartney posed for photos. Overall, despite some out-of-tune singers and awkward comedians, we'd call it a very successful night—even if the two most haunting images weren't any of the mini-videos about Sandy's affect on our area, but rather Daltrey's chest and Kanye's skirt.