NEW YORK — New Jersey shore hero Bruce Springsteen opened a benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy on Wednesday by making a plea that what made his boyhood home special not be forgotten when it is rebuilt.
Music royalty from the Rolling Stones to Kanye West, including several artists with direct ties to the New York metropolitan area, gathered at Madison Square Garden for a concert being televised, streamed online and aired on radio all over the world.
Springsteen and his E Street Band began the show with a roar, singing Land of Hope and Dreams and Wrecking Ball. He addressed the rebuilding process before his song My City of Ruins. He noted that the song was written about the hard times suffered by Asbury Park, N.J., before a renaissance over the past decade.
He lauded the Jersey shore as an inclusive area, where the rich and the poor can find a place.
I pray that that characteristic remains along the Jersey shore because that's what makes it special, Springsteen said.
He mixed My City of Ruins with part of Tom Waits' Jersey Girl before bringing neighbor Jon Bon Jovi out to sing Born to Run with him.
Comic Billy Crystal got an immediate laugh by taking a shot at a Long Island lighting company that drew criticism for the slow pace of power restoration after the storm hit the area on Oct. 29.
Roger Waters played a set of Pink Floyd's spacey rock, joined by Eddie Vedder for Comfortably Numb. The sold-out 12-12-12 concert was being shown on 37 television stations in the United States and more than 200 others worldwide. It was to be streamed on 30 websites, including YouTube and Yahoo, and played on radio stations. Theaters, including 27 in the New York region and dozens more elsewhere, were showing it live. More than 2 billion people were expected to have access to the performance.