Last night an estimated 2 billion people tuned in to witness the “12-12-12” concert at Madison Square Garden which was packed with an audience eager to see some of the most recognizable and respected acts in rock and roll come together under one roof for one cause. This powerful group of rock royalty performed this huge event to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
In a true display of what music with a conscious is all about, the arena was filled with legends like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters and Eric Clapton. Going on for almost six hours, the concert raised over $30 million in ticket sales alone. Transitioning between heartfelt and personal stories from comedians and celebrities like Billy Crystal, John Stewart and Jake Gyllenhaal, images of the ravaged coast, and explosive songs, the evening was filled with highlights.
One of the best acts of the night was The Rolling Stones. Though they only performed two songs, “You Got Me Rockin” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” they did so with the effortless ease and passion of a seasoned rock band worthy of all the praise that has been heaped on them over the years. Pointing out the British influence on the night, Mick Jagger playfully stated, “This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden. If it rains in London, you’ve got to come and help us.”
As the true representatives of New Jersey, and the embodiment of East Coast rock and roll, both Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, who opened the electrifying concert, did an excellent job, playing impassioned, emotive songs. These two in particular seemed to connect with the crowd and each other, as they each felt a personal bond with the areas affected by the hurricane.
Still, even a concert as great as this one wasn’t impervious to the occasional slump. Looking like a buffoon in the middle of the rock and roll court, Kanye West’s set was odd, out of place, and altogether too long. I understand the compulsion to add some newer talent to lineup of classic rockers, but the insertion of West’s lengthy rap section abruptly cut the night pumping with legendary tunes. When West took the stage the night took a freefall from the musical high that had been maintained with all the greats that came before him. His performance seemed to drone on, leaving many viewers wishing his time on stage had been as short as the absolutely ridiculous leather skirt he was for some unknown reason wearing (really, what was he thinking?). His set was definitely the time for people to give themselves a self-imposed intermission and take a bathroom break.
Aside from West and R&B/pop artist, Alicia Keys, the millennial generation was noticeably absent from this community of musical do-gooders. Perhaps this was because those affected by the storm were mostly families, and those in a position to donate and help are likely of the classic rock generation. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if it might be because this generation has no sense of history, and no real idea of what it means to come together to help those in dire situations.
On the whole, however, the concert was a fantastically impressive show of talent and compassion that proved that the world can still come together and make a difference.
By: Darianne Dobbie