Dec. 12, 2012 at 7:39 PM ET
Updated at 1:25 a.m. ET: Rock legends ranging from Roger Waters to The Rolling Stones to Paul McCartney with Nirvana joined together Wednesday night for a massive six-hour concert to raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund benefiting victims of superstorm Sandy.
The musicians set a serious tone, wearing mostly black and gray onstage as they encouraged people to call and donate money to help those affected by the devastating storm that killed at least 140 people and destroyed or damaged homes and properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other areas.
Alicia Keys, who grew up in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, closed the show with her New York anthem "Empire State of Mind," as doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and others joined the piano-playing singer onstage. They ended the night chanting "U.S.A."
Keys was one of two women who performed at "The Concert for Sandy Relief." Diana Krall backed McCartney, who sang his solo songs, Beatles songs and played the role of Kurt Cobain with Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band kicked off the concert with "Land of Hope and Dreams," and followed it up with "Wrecking Ball."
"Tonight, this is a prayer for all of our struggling brothers and sisters," Springsteen said. After performing a third song, the rocker brought out Jon Bon Jovi, and the pair sang "Born to Run" together.
"I can't believe that Bruce Springsteen is my opening act," Billy Crystal joked after the set. "You can feel the electricity in the building, which means Long Island Power isn't involved." He also reminded viewers about the devastation the storm left behind. "More than 100 people died ... entire neighborhoods wiped out. ... Tonight with your help, we are going to emerge stronger than before."
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, who recently toured with his show "Roger Waters The Wall Live," performed "In the Flesh" and "Another Brick in the Wall" from the band's classic album. He then launched into "Money" and "Us and Them" from "Dark Side of the Moon."
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder then joined the group for "Comfortably Numb," taking turns on the lyrics with Waters.
Adam Sandler then took the stage with Paul Shaffer on piano for a little fun, with the comedian tweaking the lyrics to "Hallelujah" to suit the evening. "Hallelujah, Sandy screw ya! We'll get through you, 'cause we're New Yorkers!" the duo sang.
During the show, celebrities -- including Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller and Jake Gyllenhaal -- manned the phone bank to handle call-in donations. There were so many stars there to help, "You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a celebrity," Brian Williams joked during the concert.
"Twilight" star Kristen Stewart also made an appearance to urge viewers to donate. She reminded the audience of the massive amount of damage that the storm left behind. "Now is your chance to be Jersey Strong with us," she said before introducing Bon Jovi's performance. The Jersey native kicked off his set with "It's My Life."
"When this storm hit, we all knew that the healing process would be beginning, but that it was going to take a long time," the rocker said. "(The performers) knew the people we were doing it for wouldn't be able to hear us, to see us. ... This recovery is not going to be quick. ... But we are strong. We are New York. We are New Jersey."
Eric Clapton also delivered an energetic set of his own that included "Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out" and "Crossroad Blues."
He was followed by The Rolling Stones, who were introduced by Jimmy Fallon. Frontman Mick Jagger encouraged the crowd to dance and cheer as the band launched into "You Got Me Rocking" and the singer showed off his own slinky moves.
"This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden," Jagger later joked of the night's lineup.
Comedian Stephen Colbert also added to the humor. He said that when Sir Paul McCartney asked him for advice on being cool, he told the musician to lose the hair cut and the accent. Colbert then pointed out that helping is also cool. So cool, in fact, that it's like "doing a line of uncut goodwill" and that donating "is the new skinny jeans."
New Yorker Alicia Keys later delivered an emotion-packed performance, first with new tune "Brand New Me" then "No One." After the two-song set, she said, "My city, New York City, is the most resilient city."
After the slower set, The Who kicked things back into high gear with an energetic performance of "Who Are You?" during which singer Roger Daltrey seemingly dropped an F-bomb. While performing "Bell Boy," the band showed video of drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978. Images and videos switched to those of the storm's destruction during "See Me, Feel Me." They ended their long set with "Tea and Theater" and a loud expletive for beer instead.
Like Colbert earlier, comedian Chris Rock used his humor to urge viewers to donate what they could. "We have raised so much money tonight, the shift's over! We fixed everything! Jersey's fixed, Staten Island, it's all like Beverly Hills right now!" he joked. "Now please go online and donate! One hundred percent of the money raised tonight will go to me! No, to the Robin Hood Relief Fund."
He then introduced the "always humble" Kanye West, who performed "Mercy," "Jesus Walks," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Gold Digger" (a seemingly odd song choice, considering the purpose of the concert) and more.
Kanye was followed by Billy Joel, who started his set with "Miami 2017." The Piano Man had also performed the tune at a benefit concert for the Sept. 11 attacks and an earlier Hurricane Sandy show. His performance also included "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "New York State of Mind," "River of Dreams," "You May Be Right" and closed with "Only the Good Die Young."
Chris Martin of Coldplay was then introduced by actress Blake Lively. The rocker appeared on stage alone with just a guitar in his hands to perform the hit song "When I Ruled the World."
"I'm so grateful to be here. ... I know you really wanted One Direction, but it's way past their bedtime, so you get one quarter of Coldplay," Martin joked. "I tried to get the guy from 'Gangnam Style,' he wasn't available." Instead, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe appeared and the pair did a duet of the hit "Losing My Religion." According to Brian Williams, Stipe was a surprise performer, even to those who planned the show.
Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz introduced Sir Paul McCartney.
"I love New York!" the former Beatle declared before kicking off the band's rocking tune "Helter Skelter," followed by "Let Me Roll It," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," "My Valentine" and "Blackbird."
"So recently some guys asked me to go jam with them," McCartney said. "So I showed up, ready to jam, and in the middle of it, these guys said, 'Well, we haven't played together in years, you know?' ... I finally understood I was in the middle of the Nirvana reunion!"
The Beatle then jammed with Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear to a new rock tune. Afterward, he took on the Fab Four's "I've Got a Feeling" and followed up with a firework-infused performance of Wings' "Live and Let Die."
McCartney ended his set by asking "the heroes of Hurricane Sandy" on stage and shaking their hands. He then brought Keys back to wrap up the show with her anthem to the city, "Empire State of Mind."
"Dedicated to all the heroes in New York and beyond," the songstress said in closing.
The show, which started at 7:30 p.m. ET at New York's Madison Square Garden, was broadcast live on 37 television stations in the United States and more than 200 others worldwide. It was to be streamed on 30 websites.
To make a donation, call 1-855-465-4357121212concert.org., or donate online at
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