The spirit of Ravi Shankar is happy and has been passed to the executive suite of the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City. One of the two driving forces of the true first concert for charity, The Concert for Bangladesh, died at age 92 on Tuesday.
Wednesday night the 12.12.12 concert for Sandy changed the nature of fundraising concerts. Just short of six hours and star-studded, it was a night that if you were in New York City you needed to be at Madison Square Garden.
In a concert that in one night rivaled Woodstock and any other relief music event, more than a dozen of the world’s top musical acts, from Bruce Springsteen to The Who, to the Rolling Stones to Alicia Keys to Sir. Paul McCartney pitched in to raise money for Sandy relief efforts.
The event had raised $37 million before even kicking off to a worldwide audience. Information regarding how much was raised from viewers is not yet available. According to event sponsors, all proceeds from ticket purchases and donations will go to organizations serving the victims of Hurricane Sandy through the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
The show was distributed worldwide to nearly two billion people through television feeds, radio and online streaming and distributed across networks and feeds in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Viewers who called in pledges might have been lucky enough to speak to celebrities such as Ajak, Fred Armisen, Vanessa Bayer, Lizzie Bracco, Lorraine Bracco, Steve Buscemi, Naomi Campbell, Carl Capotorto, Max Casella, Federico Castelluccio, Jason Cerbone, John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, Chelsea Clinton, Sean Combs, Billy Crystal, Vince Curatola, Tony Danza, Hannah Davis, Jimmy Fallon, Sky Ferreira, Jamie Foxx, Bobby Funaro, Hanna Gaby, James Gandolfini, Gina Gershon and Olivia Wilde and Brian Williams.
The all-star musical lineup included Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters and Kanye West, in addition to unscheduled pop-ins, such as Michael Stipe from R.E.M. The show was opened by Springsteen with “Land of Hope and Dreams,” “Wrecking Ball,” “My City of Ruins” and “Born To Run.” It closed by McCartney and Keys playing her hit “Empire State of Mind.”
Asked prior to the concert why he got involved, McCartney said, “This one, I think, was just surprising because you didn’t realize this much damage was going to be done in this area. That’s the problem, you know. People think ‘Oh, it’s done. It was a bad storm.’ But the idea that it is still leaving people suffering, on the streets, people without their homes without power, without shelter. I think that’s what suddenly everyone realized.”
He urged people to get involved and “really make a difference for these people who otherwise are going to have one hell of a winter.”
Springsteen spoke of the “unique personality” of New Jersey’s shore. “We are used to the river and the ocean occasionally bumping heads. But there was complete buildings washed into the sea, a level of destruction I hadn’t seen.”
While the lead sponsor was Chase, with an undisclosed donation amount, other corporations also chipped in. Earlier in the day GE Foundation in Fairfield, Conn., gave $4 million to the Robin Hood Foundation to support relief and recovery efforts under way in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Funds are expected to be used for longer-term housing, physical and mental health needs, food bank support and local economic recovery in impacted communities where the Robin Hood Foundation determines the need is greatest.
“Since our initial $1.25 million donation in the days following Hurricane Sandy, we have been staying in touch with national and local nonprofit organizations to understand where GE might be able to do more,” said Bob Corcoran, president of the GE Foundation. “We know from our experience with other disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the 9-11 attacks, and now Hurricane Sandy that often the greatest need is surfaced long after the immediate shock wears off. That is often when some of the harder work begins. Our employees, customers and neighbors were affected by this storm and we know that the work of the Robin Hood Foundation will help the community at large cope with the aftermath of Sandy.”