In fighting trim for a series of 50th anniversary concerts in the New York area, the Stones ripped through "You've Got Me Rockin" and "Jumping Jack Flash" before beating a quick retrea t—perhaps not to upstage their own upcoming Pay-Per-View show.
The Who weaved Sandy into their set, showing pictures of storm devastation on video screens during "Pinball Wizard." Pete Townshend made a quick revision to the lyrics of "Baba O'Riley," changing "teenage wasteland" to "Sandy wasteland."
New York native Alicia Keys asked the audience to hold their cell phones high for her song, "No One," triggering a sea of light that is the modern version of an earlier generation's holding cigarette lighters in the air. "We love you," Keys said, "and we'll make it through this."
Eric Clapton switched from acoustic to electric guitar and sang "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and "Crossroads." New York was a backdrop for Clapton's personal tragedy, when his young son died after falling out of a window.
Roger Waters played a set of Pink Floyd's spacey rock, joined by Eddie Vedder for "Comfortably Numb." Waters stuck to the music and left the fundraising to others.
The sold-out "12-12-12" concert was being shown on 37 television stations in the United States and more than 200 others worldwide. It was to be 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, were showing it live.
Proceeds from the show will be distributed through the Robin Hood Foundation. More than $30 million was raised through ticket sales alone.
Other concert performers were to include Long Islander Billy Joel ("New York State of Mind.") Even Liverpool's Paul McCartney has a New York office, Hamptons home and a wife, Nancy Shevell, who spent a decade on the board of the agency that runs New York's public transit system.
The concert came a day after the death of sitar master Ravi Shankar, a performer at the 1971 "Concert for Bangladesh" considered the grandfather of music benefits. That concert also was in Madison Square Garden.