Massive benefit for Sandy Victims reviewed by Rock NYC
By Iman Lababedi
My friend Mike works the floor of Barclay Center but he is in enemy territory tonight for the biggest benefit of all time at Madison Square garden. Still, there is honor among Arena personnel, they all know each other, often work stints together, and have a professional courtesy clause added to their rider. So Mike paid for his ticket sitting next to me, and then wandered off every now and then, returning with missives from the front lines.
“is he famous?”
“He used to date Taylor Swift.”
“Well, he was talking to himself in the VIP rest room saying ‘I’m the greatest.’”
Later, Mike is back again to inform me Billy Joel is drunk and not working off a setlist and that the firemen on the floor (the ones that joined Alicia for “Empire State of Men” are falling down drunk.
People who watched it from home told me Governor Christie is really really fat and I can tell you that being stuck at MSG for the six hours of 12-12-12 was like being at a never ending PBS fundraiser.
This isn’t a fun story to write because, really everybody has seen it so consider this a 12-12-12 made easy…
Losers: Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys
And everybody else was somewhere in the middle.
I have really had enough of Springsteen. He is just too damn sincere, too intense too overwhelmed and inspired by everything. And while I admire “My City of Ruins” with all my heart and the segue into “Jersey Girl” was inspired, it still began the evening on such a down note. Jon Bon Jovi joined him for an outstanding “Born To Run” and Bruce returned the favor on what amounts to Bon Jovi’s best moment “Who Says You Can’t Get Home.” I hate the band but Bon Jovi blew Bruce right off stage. They played their hits, they played em well, and got a major singalong going to “Living On A Prayer” –a lesson in giving the people what they want.
The rest of the show was exactly what you get at these things, truncated sets, sometimes, two songs by the Stones and with Jagger being somewhat acerbic wondering if they will play in London if it rains there. Round our way, we’ve debating why they only played two songs while the Who got six. Sherry says it is because the Stones are a late edition to the evening, I say because they don’t wanna cut into Saturday’s PPV gig.
Did I mention the Who went on too long? The audience loved em, some drunk guy sitting in front of me drinking beer and smoking a doob said “The Who killed them all. They killed them all. All of them…” Debatable, of course.
I though Kanye killed them all. With only a DJ and backing tapes he hit the hits hard as hell, an ill-tempered, powerful set. Maybe the bass was a little too loud. Mike pointed to the ceiling and noted debris was falling and his friend texted him and offered Mike $5K to get West off the stage. At MSG the audience was split, somebody claimed it was split on color lines except there were no blacks in the audience. It was split by generations. The Grandparents hated him, their Grandkids loved him, and the parents were divided. I though he was a phenom, better on the “Watch The Throne” tour . With no band, no special effects, and no Hova either, West destroyed. Kweezy rapped his verse from Rihanna’s “Diamonds remix, to “Golddigger” he roamed about his catalog, like the prowling leather skirted monster who so easily is. Though it was filled with hits, it was as uncompromising a hip hop set as I’ve seen all year and “Runaway” , which segued into a new song I didn’t recognize but was a full own ballad, was the best moment in the evening.
And now the deluge: Macca did the usual stuff, plus Diana Krall joined him for the terrible “My Valentine” and what was left of Nirvana joined him for an obscure track when they should have gone for a hit. The explosions during “Live And Let Die” were too late. Roger Waters mostly played his hits and made a lot of new friends while he was at it. It’s been years since Billy Joel, who has morphed into Uncle Festus of the Addams family, and it was a pleasure to see him again… though not very revealing. Adam, Sandler’s rewrite of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was very funny.
And the surprise of the evening with Chris Martin, who I vastly prefer in 15 minute increments being joined by Michael Stipe for a huge singalong on “Losing My Religion”. Southern slang for being disillusioned. And to be honest, I already lived through it once and while I have friends who have lost a lot, I still find the begging a bore. And even when the begging is by Jake, Billy, Chris Rock, Quentin Tarantino, et al. Still, it wasn’t a disillusioning evening.
SIX HOURS???? People left around midnight but mostly people hung around and complained about Kanye and the Stones short set. Oh no, I’ve said too much…
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Land of Hope and Dreams
My City of Ruins
Born To Run (w/ Jon Bon Jovi)
In The Flesh
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2
The Ballad Of Jean Charles de Menezes
Us and Them
Comfortably Numb (w/ Eddie Vedder)
Adam Sandler: Hallelujah (w/ Paul Shaffer)
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Got To Get Better In A Little While
You Get Me Rocking
Jumping Jack Flash
Brand New Me
Who Are You
See Me Feel Me/Listening To You
Love Reign O’er Me
Tea and Theatre
Clique > Mercy > Power > Jesus Walks > All Of The Lights > Diamonds From Sierra Leone > Diamonds > Touch The Sky
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas > New York State Of Mind
River Of Dreams
You May Be Right
Only The Good Die Young
Viva La Vida
Losing My Religion (w/ Michael Stipe)
Us Against The World
Let Me Roll It
My Valentine (w/ Diana Krall)
Cut Me Some Slack (w/ Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic)
I’ve Got A Feeling
Live and Let Die
Empire State Of Mind (w/ Alicia Keys)
(Iman Lababedi is editor-at-large for Rock NYC. For more in-depth reviews and astute coverage of the music scene in the Big Apple and beyond, visit Rock NYC.)