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Just four days after Hurricane Sandy left her devastating mark on the Northeast, NBCUniversal aired the telethon, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, in which some of music’s biggest names came together to help raise money for the American Red Cross Friday.
The monstrous storm, which left millions of people in heartache, more than a 100 people dead, and billions of dollars in damage brought together celebs who are natives to the region for a good cause. Hosted by Matt Lauer, famous faces such as Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Danny DeVito, Kevin Bacon, and Brian Williams showed their support and pleaded for donations while musicians and singers lit up the stage in a time of darkness. Christina Aguilera, Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were the superstars who managed to help raise nearly $23 million for the American Red Cross, reports US Weekly.
The Red Cross' Chief Marketing Officer Peggy Dyer said in a statement, "Our preliminary results of nearly $23 million raised are an extraordinary example of how the American people pull together in times of disaster."
Dyer added, "Their generous donations will go directly to those in need and we urge the public to continue to give. We also thank the dedicated and talented team at NBCUniversal for the millions of people they have helped through this telethon."
Songs performed in the NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza were strategically sung with a message for the public. The night became intensely emotional as images of New York and New Jersey that were highly affected by the storm were shown in the background of the performances. According to the the New York Daily News, Christina Aguilera, who grew up in Staten Island, started the night off with her hit of self esteem, “Beautiful”, in a newly stripped version.
Once a party anthem, Jon Bon Jovi showed respect to his hometown of Sayerville, N.J., with an acoustic performance of his hit “Livin’ On A Prayer," which transformed into a moment of faith. Also, his song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” carried a special meaning to natives of New Jersey.
An eerie period of the night came from Long-Island native, Billy Joel. Written back in the 1970s, “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)” is a prediction of a New York Apocalypse with lyrics like “the empire state laid low,” “Manhattan sailing out to sea” and the Bronx “blown away.”
As a night of hurt transformed into strength, Aerosmith performed their 1970s song “Dream On”, which captured the essence of encouragement, while the legendary Mary J. Blige, a native New Yorker, gave an emotional performance of her song “Living Proof” for those most wounded, encouraging perseverance.
Perhaps a collaboration one would be surprised to see came from Tyler, Joel, Springsteen, and lead vocalist, Jimmy Fallon. Their performance of “Under the Boardwalk” by the Drifters reminisced on sweet memories by the sea.
Sting sang his incredibly appropriate hit in his moving performance of an acoustic version of “Message in a Bottle,” sending an “SOS to the world.”
The finale went to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band who performed a powerful and uplifting performance of “Land of Hope and Dreams," paving the way for the light at the end of tunnel.
Donations can be sent to the American Red Cross at (800) REDCROSSNOW.