Eventually 121212 would become 121312, as The Concert for Sandy Relief rallied into Thursday morning with an expansive list of performers. Held at New York’s Madison Square Garden and broadcast around the world, Paul McCartney and Nirvana were perhaps the night’s most anticipated act, while Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Bon Jovi catered to the hometown heroes in attendance.
Between inspiring tales of compassion and community, as well as inspiring sets from some of music’s greatest legends, it was an evening well spent in front of the television. Below, our instant takeaway from the biggest concert our living room has ever seen.
1. MOST EXCITED TO BE THERE: DIDDY
With booming shouts of “New York!” and “New Jersey!” Sean Combs helped to reawaken any viewers who may have started to doze off after the Stones failed to perform “Gimme Shelter,” or were considering flipping to Top Chef. He was also on hand to call attention to the selfless doctors and nurses who acted quickly to save the young patients in NICU when NYU’s Bellevue Hospital lost power during the storm (“Get up out ‘cha seats!”). Once a hype man, always a hype man.
2. WORST OUTFIT CHANGE: BON JOVI
The skin-tight leather jacket JBJ wore to duet with Bruce Springsteen on “Born To Run” confused us, but that doesn’t mean we wanted a turtleneck! (To be fair, it’s cold out and lots of people are sick right now.) At least his pit stains were under control.
3. BEST EARLY EXCUSE TO LAUGH: ADAM SANDLER
We weren’t sure what the mood would be like, or if sharing stories from neighborhoods most effected by the storm meant Kanye West couldn’t play “Gold Digger.” (We were wrong.) Luckily, Adam Sandler provided a bit of comic relief shortly after Springsteen’s opening set, blending his guitar playing and joke-playing for a 12-12-12 original. Sandler and Paul Shaffer unveiled “Screw Ya Sandy,” set to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” You know things are getting back together when New Yorkers are joking about how miserable their sports teams are. (Congrats, Giants. You’re off the hook.) Bigger question: Is Sandler growing out what once was a fauxhawk?
4. WORST TIMING FOR COMEDIC RELIEF: SNL‘S DRUNK UNCLE
We love Bobby Moynihan’s character on Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update, but it didn’t feel appropriate to suddenly devalue the importance of such a historic night helping such a tremendous cause. Plus, when you’re already running over your scheduled air time, cut the fat!
5. BEST SELF-PROMOTION: CHELSEA CLINTON
If those breakup rumors ever prove to be true, Bill’s daughter just put up one hell of a personal ad. As for the response? SOLID.
If I find Chelsea Clinton hot, does that mean I indirectly find Hillary Clinton hot?
— David Myers (@davidwemyers) December 13, 2012
Wow,Chelsea Clinton looks great! #121212concert
— Rus Khomutoff (@rusdaboss) December 13, 2012
#121212concert did chelsea clinton get better looking as she got older?
— Miller Trailblazer (@Welding_rod) December 13, 2012
Remember when Rush Limbaugh, SNL and others made fun of Chelsea Clinton for being 14 and wore braces. Well she got the last laugh. #gorgeous
— Nick Pizzolato (@nickpizz) December 13, 2012
Chelsea Clinton looking pretty good
— Jon_Seely (@Jonphils) December 13, 2012
— Chip Ayten (@Chip_Ayten) December 13, 2012
Chelsea Clinton looking good
— Her She Me B(@SimplyBerry) December 13, 2012
Damn! Chelsea Clinton is still hot as hell! #121212Concert
— Andrew Davis (@BadAssAndrew) December 13, 2012
Chelsea Clinton looks fantastic!
— erin pickering (@GFillustrator) December 13, 2012
6. BEST EXAMPLE OF HOW TO CELEBRATE: THE GRAYBEARDS
“Let’s go, Buscemi, I love you!” The Boardwalk Empire star and volunteer firefighter was embraced by the Breezy Point volunteers, who were not shy about going in for hugs or spilling their drinks in celebration.
7. BEST CHEST: ROGER DALTREY
Mick wasn’t willing to commit to the full unbuttoned look, and Rozay wasn’t invited, so… It might be glistening and you were probably unprepared, but he’s 68—yes, 6-8—years old.
8. WORST SET CONSTRUCTION: KANYE WEST
Yeezy rebounded very nicely—we forgot how much fun “Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” “Jesus Walks” and “Touch the Sky” are live—but the beginning of his set was a total mess. Choosing to performing just his verses from Cruel Summer without the G.O.O.D. crew (where are you, 2Chainz?) fell flat, and was probably confusing for most of the Over 40 crowd. Know your audience, Yeezy! They are the kind who definitely get confused by leather kilts.
Nice job slipping in the “Diamonds” remix, though. (Rihmix?)
9. MOST OBVIOUS ABSENCE: JAY-Z
When you write a song like “Empire State of Mind” and own part of a city’s sports team, people expect you to show up to things like this. And with Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Chris Martin all on the bill, there was more than one artist Jay could have collaborated with if he didn’t feel like performing a full set all by himself. Could it be possible that he’s still fuming after Brooklyn’s loss to the Knicks on Tuesday night?
10. BEST CASE FOR SECESSION: BILLY JOEL
“New York! New Jersey! Long Island!” If Billy Joel considers his homeland a separate entity, shouldn’t tax payers?
11. WORST SNUB: THE ROLLING STONES
One more song! One more song! One more song—or five. Would that be cool, Mick? If not, Jimmy Fallon can take over on vocals for a bit.
That’s his “go” coat.
12. BEST OBLIGATORY ONE DIRECTION REFERENCE: CHRIS MARTIN
“I know you really wanted One Direction but it’s way past their bedtime,” said the Coldplay front man, flying solo for the night. No, Chris. Michael Stipe will do just fine.
Added bonus? Their surprise “Losing My Religion” duet. Listen here.
13. BEST “HEY, I KNOW HER!” MOMENT: SKY FERREIRA
Just after midnight, Brian Williams made his finally check-in with the celebrities manning the call center, only to reveal our good friend, Sky. Taking donations, or requesting your song on the radio, hmm?
14. BEST DAD JEANS: PAUL McCARTNEY
Everybody throw your Ws up if you like deep Wings cuts and light wash denim!
15. BEST CONVERSATION STARTER FOR THURSDAY: SO… MACVANA?
To quote Sir Paul, “Oh yeah.” Paul just wants to jam, man! Introducing Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear, also known as the surviving members of Nirvana, to debut a little something they worked on capped an entire day’s worth of speculation and was a true treat. Props to McCartney for being open and props to Novoselic for wearing those pants in assumed sincerity.
OTHER NOTABLES IN THE HOUSE…
Eddie Vedder and Roger Waters
Setting the bar for live collaborations very high.
She was told there’d be ping-pong.
Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz
Yep, QT is still dressing like a seventh-grader.
Providing plenty of shout-outs to his friends down the shore.
Who’s just as confused about why she’s there as you are.
But Martha’s not! She fits right in.
Here I am with all kinds of celebrities at the 12-12-12 concert. The Boss is singing,the telethon phones are ringing and money is coming in
— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) December 13, 2012