New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined Sting, Christina Aguilera and other music stars on Friday in a televised benefit concert to raise funds for victims of Sandy, the superstorm that has killed nearly 100 people in the United States and devastated large sections of the Northeast.
The commercial-free one-hour telecast organized by NBCUniversal, "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," included appearances by Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny DeVito and NBC News' Brian Williams. TODAY show co-anchor Matt Lauer was host.
"Voice" coach Aguilera kicked off the program.
"We've come together tonight to tell every single person who's suffering that we are here for you. We will do whatever we can to help. We will not leave anyone behind because every single one of you matters," the star said before beginning her performance of her hit "Beautiful."
"We haven't seen a storm like this in 100 years," said Lauer.
The show also featured Bon Jovi surveying the devastation in New Jersey. After the touching clip, which also showed the rocker talking to impacted residents, he performed an unplugged version of "Living on a Prayer." Images of the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy were also interspersed throughout the show, along with victims pleading for aid, reminding viewers just how immense the damage was.
"New Jersey was hit really hard. Some beaches were destroyed. Boardwalks were torn apart. But they will be rebuilt," said late-night host Jimmy Fallon. "This song is dedicated to all the good times ahead." He then joined Steven Tyler, Billy Joel and Springsteen for an upbeat cover of "Under the Boardwalk."
"That ain't bad! ... Jimmy Fallon is a bold man to take the lead vocals," Jon Stewart joked after their performance, before getting serious again. "You never think that it's going to be your home or where you grew up. Now that it is, I find it more difficult (to ask for donations). ... We're asking for your help. Text, call, whatever you can do for the Red Cross."
The stars tried to give hope throughout the program, reminding those impacted by the storm that people care.
"My prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the hurricane," Mary J. Blige said. "Things are gonna get better, so please hang in there, be strong and have faith. And please, everybody watching tonight, give something, anything. Every penny counts." She performed "The Living Proof," a song she wrote about surviving difficult times and the brighter days ahead.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band closed the show on a message of hope with a rousing rendition of their tune "Land of Hope and Dreams."
Money collected during the concert will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts. The Red Cross is providing shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those impacted by disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.
To donate, visit RedCross.org, call 1-800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Reuters contributed to this report.