Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl Close Out 12/12/12 Benefit Concert
December 13, 2012

Pete Townshend (photo: Jim Rinaldi)
As Mick Jagger pointed out at last night's 12/12/12 benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims, it was probably the "largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden." That may be true, but it was those aging musicians who stole the show as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney all offered stellar sets to help raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the show, and The Boss brought out his New Jersey neighbor Jon Bon Jovi to sing on "Born To Run." Roger Waters played a string of Pink Floyd hits, including "Comfortably Numb" featuring Eddie Vedder on vocals, and Bon Jovi later returned to the stage with his full band to rock out some of their fan favorites. Eric Clapton looked and sounded great for his three-song set, which ended with "Crossroads," and a pair of stripped down R&B songs from Alicia Keys brought some variety into the night. She offered a concert highlight with her pitch-perfect, minimal piano rendition of "No One."

The Stones played only two songs - "You Got Me Rocking" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - but The Who made up for that with a tight, energetic, five-song set of classics that included "Who Are You," "Pinball Wizard" and "Baba O'Riley." Kanye West was up next, which seemed an odd transition after The Who, but he offered a medley of hits backed by deejays rather than a live band. West blew threw quick verses of "Mercy," "Power," "Jesus Walks," "Run This Town,"
"Touch the Sky," "Gold Digger," "Stronger" and more.

Billy Joel was up next, and he aptly played "New York State Of Mind" among other hits. After Joel came a brief solo set from Coldplay's Chris Martin, who brought out the one surprise guest of the night: R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. Martin played acoustic guitar while Stipe, who Martin said "came out of retirement" for the show, sang "Losing My Religion."

Finally, after five hours of music, Paul McCartney took the stage with a rocking rendition of "Helter Skelter." He played a few other tracks such as "Let Me Roll It" and "Blackbird" before finally bringing out the surviving members of Nirvana - Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear - to debut a brand new song called "Cut Me Some Slack." The heavy-rocker featured McCartney wailing on electric guitar, and it was later revealed that the song will be included on the soundtrack to Grohl's upcoming documentary film about Sound City Studios. The movie will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month before its release on February 1, and the soundtrack will be titled Sound City - Real to Reel, featuring "music from and inspired by" Grohl's movie. The tracklist and release date have yet to be revealed.

Bon Jovi & Bruce Springsteen team up (photo: Jim Rinaldi)

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Manny Simon
VP/Adult Formats,
Republic Records

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