“God bless New York,” Bruce Springsteen said at the end of Friday night’s hour-long NBC telethon, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together. “God bless the Jersey shore.” The low-key, emotional program stayed true to that simple message, as a star-studded set of performers mostly with ties to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy gave stripped-down renditions of songs suited for the somber occasion. It looks to have worked, too, as people pitched in $23 million to help the storm’s victims through American Red Cross, USA Today reports.
Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi represented New Jersey. Billy Joel was there from Long Island. Christina Aguilera, from Staten Island, and Mary J. Blige, from the Bronx, also performed. Rounding out the telethon were three members of Boston-based Aerosmith, plus English gentleman Sting. NBC news anchors and other personalities were also on hand, including Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey.
Fallon contributed to one of the more memorable moments of the night, when he gamely sang lead with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on an endearingly ramshackle version of the Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk,” joined by Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel (watch that above). Christina Aguilera’s latest single wouldn’t have suited the charity show, where she sang her hit “Beautiful” over a lone piano, but earlier in the night she performed “Your Body” with Fallon and the Roots, using some unconventional instruments reminiscent of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Fallon collaboration (below).
Also below, watch Billy Joel’s slightly updated version of his harrowingly prophetic “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” (via VH1’s Tuner). From 1976’s Turnstiles, the song looks at New York City’s then-current fiscal crisis through the lens of a fictitious calamity. On Friday night, after a week when the lights really did go out on Broadway, Joel sang, “They shut out power down, Staten Island drowned, but we went right on with the show.”