Bruce, Bon Jovi, Blige unite for Sandy

On Friday, Nov. 2, NBC brought together a handful of celebrities with one thing in common; their hometowns and their citizens had been affected by the
devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

With the power of those celebrities’ music and voices, the “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” telethon, held at NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, raised around $23 million for the Red Cross’ relief efforts for victims in need.

Christina Aguilera, a Staten Island native, opened the telethon with an emotional performance of her popular song “Beautiful” off her fourth album Stripped. She was followed by Sayreville, N.J. native Jon Bon Jovi who performed the hits “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Perhaps one of the most poignant performances of the night came from Long Island’s favorite son, Billy Joel. Joel played a cut off his classic 1974 album Turnstiles, “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” which includes harrowingly accurate lines such as, “they said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea.” The Hicksville section of Long Island, where Joel grew up, is still predominantly without power almost two weeks after the storm hit the Northeast.

After Joel’s solo performance, he was joined by “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen to perform The Drifter’s classic single “Under the Boardwalk,” an homage to the historic boardwalks of New Jersey that were washed away by Sandy’s powerful surges.

Actress Tina Fey, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart presented the performers. Stewart, a Trenton, N.J.
native, became emotionally choked up as he uttered the statement, “this telethon is about the people, and they’re the best I’ve ever known.”

Following performances from Aerosmith, Sting and Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street put on a stirring performance of “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a fitting end to an emotional and successful night.

The telethon was organized and hosted by the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer who first introduced Bon Jovi while Springsteen and Joel followed suit. “Come
Together” was broadcast across multiple television networks and streamed live on web platforms.NBC had also put together successful telethons and concerts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.