Madison Square Garden was the sight of yet another rock and roll concert aptly named the "12-12-12 Concert," as yesterday was December 12, 2012. However, the proceeds from the affair did not line the pockets of an iconic rock band. No, 100% of the gate, sale of merchandise, and phone-in donations will be used to help New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy through the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
Estimates are that Sandy caused upwards of $70 billion of damage and more than 100 deaths in the U.S. The number of lives ruined and homes completely destroyed by the freak of nature is unbelievable. The devastation was documented in a number of short films in between the musical acts.
One of the speakers indicated that the concert was being televised to more than two billion people worldwide, reminiscent of the "Live Aid Concert" held simultaneously in Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium in 1985. Celebrities cajoled the attendees and the viewers watching at home to give whatever they could. The list of stars who participated is a who's who of the entertainment industry. Governors Chris Christie (N.J.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) were present, and recognized for their leadership during the storm.
It was a grand affair attended by Robin Hood Foundation supporters. You know who they are, don't you? All the fat cats, greedy bankers, hedge fund masters of the universe, and other 0.1%ers who paid $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 (and much more for skyboxes and premium seats) to watch a cavalcade of rock and roll super stars assembled by Harvey Weinstein and others. I was fortunate to attend the gala and experience one of the most mind-boggling exhibitions of generosity by the haves for the have-nots, and the newly-minted needy. During the festivities, one of the Robin Hood officials stopped by to tell us that the proceeds had topped $50 million about half way through the show. I suspect the amount ultimately collected will be substantially greater.
The performers included Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Bon Jovi, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Eric Clapton (the greatest guitar player ever), the Rolling Stones (the most iconic band in the world), Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Billy Joel, and Sir Paul McCartney. The music was awesome and Earth-shattering. It very much reflected the age and success of the attendees; there were not many young people in attendance.
The concert was supposed to last only four hours or so. It started at about 7:30 and ended after 1 am.
It was a concert for the ages and the best part of it, besides raising money for those impacted by the storm, was that so many could partake and watch it live on TV.
The Robin Hood Foundation has built a wonderful and caring organization totally dedicated to those in need in the New York metropolitan area. Once again, its supporters stepped up big time to help the organization meet its mission. It was also heartwarming to get to meet many first responders who saved lives while risking their own, as well as many New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who helped their neighbors during Sandy and the days after it.