NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined Staten Island-born Christina Aguilera and others on Friday in a televised benefit concert for victims of Sandy, the storm that killed more than 100 and devastated parts of the U.S. Northeast.
The commercial-free one-hour telecast, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” included appearances by Sting, Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Bacon and Danny DeVito.
The host was “Today” show co-anchor Matt Lauer, who said, “We haven’t seen a storm like this in 100 years.”
The fundraiser, shown on NBC, opened with Aguilera saying: “I was born in Staten Island. Four days ago, Hurricane Sandy came through and devastated it.” The New York City borough accounted for about half the city’s 41 deaths from the storm.
Aguilera, a judge on the television singing competition “The Voice,” vowed that “we will do whatever we can to help, we will not leave anyone behind,” then performed “You Are What You Are (Beautiful).”
Next up was Bon Jovi, who was seen in footage filmed this week after he rushed back from a British promotional tour to visit his hometown of Sayreville, New Jersey, to console residents and view the devastation.
Bon Jovi sang “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”
Fey, an actress and comedian, implored viewers to donate at 1-800-HELPNOW and spread the message for donations via social media such as Twitter.
Donors can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 contribution. All proceeds were earmarked for the American Red Cross to benefit victims of Sandy and rebuilding efforts.
The show was sprinkled with news footage of destruction in New York City and along the New Jersey coast, such as the ruins of the amusement pier familiar to viewers of “Jersey Shore.”
Long Island-raised Joel performed an early song about devastation full of references to New York: “Miami 2017,” often known as “Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway.” Joel tweaked the lyrics to incorporate areas especially hard hit by Sandy.
Sting chose “Message in a Bottle,” with its familiar refrain “Sending out an SOS.”
Tyler, with Aerosmith, performed “Dream On” and teamed up with Fallon for “On the Boardwalk,” backed up by Joel and Springsteen.
Blige sang “The Living Proof,” and the telecast ended with Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Land of Hope and Dreams.”
“God bless New York, God bless the Jersey Shore,” Springsteen said as the band struck the final chords.
The telethon was also aired on NBC Universal networks Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA, as well as HBO, and was live-streamed on NBC.com and simulcast on Springsteen’s E Street Radio on SiriusXM.
On Thursday, Walt Disney Co announced a $2 million donation for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, while Disney/ABC Television Group designated Monday as a “Day of Giving” when viewers of network and syndicated programming would be encouraged to help.
Entertainment giant Viacom Inc announced a $1 million donation to the Mayor’s Fund NYC and local organizations.
(Editing by Gary Hill and Peter Cooney)