12-12-12 Sandy Benefit Concert: Stars, Surprises and 2 Billion Viewers

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 04:35 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Wednesday night’s star-studded concert to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy is expected to rake in well over $65 million in donations — topping the amount earned by a similar benefit staged to help families devastated by the 9/11 attacks.

“12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief’’ kicks off at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time, and will be aired live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on HBO, PBS, VH1, Bloomberg and 30 other media outlets.

Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Chris Martin, Dave Grohl, Bon Jovi, Eddie Vedder, Kanye West, and Alicia Keys are among the many acts set to perform.

Also scheduled to appear are Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Several surprise performances are anticipated, with one red-hot rumor having McCartney subbing for the late Kurt Cobain role in a re-formed Nirvana.

The highly-anticipated show will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund and be seen by about 2 billion people worldwide.

The fund has already raised more than $30 million for victims of Sandy, including families who lost their homes in New York and New Jersey.

Springsteen and his E-Street Band will open the show, which is expected to last about five hours, with McCartney expected to close it.

Joel, a native Long Islander, said he was stunned by the devastation caused by the storm.

“I’m proud to be a Long Islander,” Joel told the New York Daily News. “And to see something like this happen, it devastates me. I saw boats torn off moorings and crashing into shore, houses being flooded. It was scary. People were stranded. People died. It was traumatic.”

A large phone bank will be manned to take donations from callers and musicians and celebrities are expected to drop in to talk with fans who want to help.

In 2001, The Robin Hood Foundation staged a benefit show at Madison Square Garden for 9/11 victims. It featured several of the same acts performing tonight.

UPDATE: Sandy 12-12-12 Benefit Concert: Full Setlist of Epic Six-Hour Show

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