"It's only Sandy wasteland": 50 years' worth of rock and pop acts come together for disaster relief

UPDATED: Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney with Nirvana: The 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy relief wedded boomers and Gen X

Kera Bolonik
December 13, 2012 5:47PM (UTC)

Last night in New York, Madison Square Garden rocked to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey with an enormous roster of veteran talent that one friend jokingly described as AARP's A-list (Alicia Keys and Kanye West excepted). The playlist favored the classics — the Stones, a Beatle, the remaining two members of the Who, but Pete Townshend was mindful to amend his timeless anthem to address their reason for being there: "It's only Sandy wasteland." And the performers hit all the right notes — moving (Billy Joel, below, will still melt even the most cynical New York crowd with "New York State of Mind"), rousing (Jersey guys Bruce and JBJ, Alicia Keys closing the concert, leading everyone in "Empire State of Mind II"), surprising (Michael Stipe pops in on a solo acoustic Chris Martin) — and one deeply odd one, the much anticipated mashup of a Beatle knight, Sir Paul McCartney, and two grunge-y Nirvanans, who performed a song they wrote together. It was not exactly inspiring. Just ... weird. The concert was live broadcast on TV and livestreamed on YouTube last night.

Here, the highlights:


Chris Martin got a surprise, when Michael Stipe popped in for a duet:  "Losing My Religion."

New Jersey in the house: Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen sing "Who Says You Can't Go Home."

The Who rock "Pinball Wizard."

Sir Paul jams with Nirvana's Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.


Billy Joel croons "Merry Little Christmas" and "New York State of Mind."

Adam Sandler sang a Sandy-inspired comedic rendition of "Hallelujah"

Kera Bolonik

Kera Bolonik, a writer, critic, and editor, is the executive editor of DAME Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Elle, Glamour, New York magazine, Salon, Slate, and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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