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12-12-12 concert: Hudson Valley celebs among show's all-star attendees
New York City hosted a once-in-a-lifetime concert Wednesday night on a once-in-a-lifetime date: 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off the show, with Steven Van Zandt backing Springsteen one night before his Rascals reunion concert debuted at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. The all-star lineup included Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, The Who and Chris Martin. Paul McCartney closed the concert, and his set included a performance of a new song, "Cut Me Some Slack," which he performed with former Nirvana band members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
Hudson Valley celebrities also made memorable appearances throughout the show.
Brian Williams interviewed Ben Stiller backstage during a break between musical performances, and Stiller discussed the hurricane’s impact on Westchester, where he and his family reside.
“We live in Westchester, and we were without power for about nine days, no phones and Internet,” the actor said. “But we were really lucky, I mean a few trees went down. But when you hear the stories of people in Staten Island and Jersey and the difference of the experience from different parts of the city.”
“My folks live in the Upper West Side and nothing was affected," Stiller added. "And yet people’s lives were turned upside down just a few miles away.”
Bedford resident Paul Shaffer accompanied Adam Sandler on the piano for the comedian's humorous cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
Eastchester native Bobby Moynihan came on stage as his "Saturday Night Live" character "Drunk Uncle," and did a comedy bit with fellow "SNL" star Seth Myers.
Bedford resident Blake Lively also took to the stage to speak about about the scope of Hurricane Sandy's damage.
Billy Joel, who once lived in Highland Falls, sang "New York State of Mind" – and sang "Newsday" instead of "The Daily News" in the song's second bridge.
Local celebrities Jimmy Fallon, Diddy, Martha Stewart, Susan Sarandon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Steve Buscemi, Susan Sarandon and Chelsea Clinton were also in attendance, many of whom were on hand to take pledges for donations at the celebrity phone bank.
Heather Duval, who was visiting New York from New Hampshire, was also among the thousands standing outside Madison Square Garden waiting to get in Wednesday. She said she bought her tickets a few weeks ago for a couple of hundred dollars.
"I wouldn't spend that much money on a lot of concerts, but it's for a good cause," she said.
Michael Brown, who lives in Brooklyn, said he was given his ticket as a birthday gift.
"I donated to the Red Cross, but it's great that we can get something fun out of our money this time," he said.
Those without tickets also came to Madison Square Garden with the hope of securing tickets to the sold-out show.
Connie Lewis, who lives in Armonk, was camped out in front of Madison Square Garden Wednesday trying to get a pair of the hottest tickets in town. Her husband Bill had pondered buying tickets the day they went on sale. By Wednesday evening, even the scalpers had run out, she'd heard.
"I think the lineup is amazing," said Lewis, who also owns a home on the Jersey Shore that was damaged by Sandy's flood waters. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it's for a good cause."
Kirsten Lindberg, who lives on the Upper West Side, stood in front of Madison Square Garden holding up a small cardboard sign. Written in blue marker: "Music teacher needs one ticket."
Lindberg said she couldn't get tickets. "I love Billy Joel and I'm willing to try," she said.
As Lindberg told her story to a Newsday reporter, a gentleman standing nearby told her he had two extra tickets and would sell her one. Then another good Samaritan stepped in: He snapped up both tickets -- and invited Lindberg to be his guest.
"Oh my God," she told the man selling the tickets, who would only identify himself as Steve. "You're my favorite person here."
The team behind the show -- Cablevision CEO and Madison Square Garden Co.'s executive chairman James Dolan, Clear Channel president John Sykes and The Weinstein Co.'s chairman Harvey Weinstein -- was also behind "The Concert for New York City," which raised $65 million for the Robin Hood Foundation to help victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"To make a real difference, we need as many people as possible to understand the true impact of Hurricane Sandy and for people everywhere to be able to help," Dolan said. "We believe this incredible night will make history as the most widely distributed live musical event ever."
The sold-out "12-12-12" concert was shown on 37 television stations in the United States and more than 200 others worldwide. It was also 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, showed it live. More than 2 billion people were estimated to have access to the performance.
With Jillian Sederholm
Tags: New York City , Bruce Springsteen , Paul McCartney , Nirvana , Bon Jovi , Eddie Vedder , Roger Waters , Alicia Keys , Chris Martin , The Who , Eric Clapton , Billy Joel , The Rolling Stones , Kanye West , Hurricane Sandy , music , concerts