Hurricane Sandy left everyone on the east coast, especially in the north east, devastated and with a heavy heart. Many people lost their homes, their cars, all of their belongings, pets and sadly, some even lost their loved ones. With all of the property damage, came loss of power all over New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, shutting down businesses, schools, and transportation. Shortages of food, water, and gasoline are vastly widespread in the tri-state area, and even though the storm may have passed the clean-up and rebuilding after the destruction is far from over. To spark the recovery efforts, NBC produced a one-hour live benefit telethon "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together" to help raise funds the victims who have had their lives heavily impacted due to the destructive storm.
The telethon was hosted by Matt Lauer, wearing a supportive Red Cross pin on his jacket, as a number of stars came together to show their support for hurricane relief efforts, and encourage those watching to do the same.
Christina Aguilera opened the show, identifying her Staten Island roots. The pop star sang one of her most moving ballads, "Beautiful," to let the storm victims know that they are not alone, and help is on the way. The song sounded just like what the lryics say, beautiful, especially with just her powerful trademark vocals and the piano.
A compilation of the storm footage of all the flooding, the 80 mph winds, the crane that fell in Manhattan, the electrical explosions, the aftermath as victims were shown being rescued from their demolished and damaged homes by boat, and the hospital evacuations. The photos also showed the famous Jersey Shore boardwalk and amusement park completely under water. It was truly heartbreaking to watch. Matt explained that "the lights went out for 8 million people," many of which who are still without power.
Next Jon Bon Jovi appeared on the telethon screens as he was shown driving through his native New Jersey, seeing first-hand the ruins and wreckage, as the residents of the neighborhoods explained to the rock star the tradgedy and loss that they felt after Hurricane Sandy changed their lives forever.
Bon Jovi performed a special acoustic medly of 2 songs including "Who Says You Can't Go Home", and his well-known rock anthem "Livin' on a Prayer." No doubt that the victims of Hurricane Sandy are now living on a prayer.
Tina Fey spoke to help notify people of how they can donate, and help provide food, water, supplies and other aid to those in need.
Video footage of Staten Island, which has been hit very harshly, showed fields of debris and pieces of homes, as people who now used to live there attempted to dig their belongings and personal items out. One woman described the whole experience as "being in a dream."
Jimmy Fallon got infront of the camera to introduce another music act, native New Yorker, Billy Joel who had a full band with him, and played "Miami 2017," as he himself played the piano, something is known well for. Then, Steven Tyler walked out on stage, to sing a song dedicated to New Jersey "Under the Boardwalk," having Jimmy Fallon singing along with him, and Billy Joel and his band.
John Stewart appeared, as he joked with Jimmy Fallon about stealing the lead vocals from Steve and Billy, and Mayor Bloomberg cancelling the NYC Marathon, while asking for viewers' help to donate whatever they can give to help provide relief efforts.
After showing more shocking and heart-wrenching footage of the annihilation left by Sandy's path, the mind-blowing long lines at the gas stations, and waiting in line for buses, Danny Devito who revealed his New Jersey Roots introduced Aerosmith. The rock stars sang their world famous "Dream On" -- and yes Steven hit those high notes!
Al Roker, who grew up in Queens, talked about how the hurricane affected that community. There were over 100 homes destroyed there, not only because of the heavy winds and pounding rain, but because of the fires that broke out that the firefighters couldn't get to. The community has seen the wrath of devastation before, as the Flight 587 crash was mentioned as well as the members of the towns who were lost on 9/11. Dealing with Hurricane Sandy is now another tradgedy for Queens.
New Yorker Whoopi Goldberg gave her thanks to the Red Cross, firefighters, police, EMTs, and everyone who has been helping in disaster relief, and then introduced the next artist: Sting.
Sting played an acoustic version of one of his most memorable songs, "Message in a Bottle," sending out his own S.O.S. to everyone watching, hopefully encouraging them to donate what they can to help those in need.
Kevin Bacon demonstrated the ease of donating via text message and encouraged people to spread the word on Twitter about doing the same.
The next musician to hit the stage was Mary J. Blige, who encouraged people to donate, stating "every penny counts." She sang a spirited and emotional version of her song "The Living Proof," an encouraging tune for all those affected by Hurricane Sandy to stay strong.
To close out the show, Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band ended the telethon with an excellent performance of "Land of Hope and Dreams."
For those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, it is now a land of hope and dreams, as these victims wait for help to arrive to help rebuild their lives. If you would like to donate you can go to the Red Cross website, call 1-800-HELP-NOW, or it can be as simple as texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation. As Mary J. Blige said, "every penny counts."