|Billy Joel: The heart and soul of the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief Concert|
First of all, let me just say that I enjoyed the shit out of the 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert. I love classic rock, loved seeing the remnants of the old British Invasion bands still alive and kicking on stage, and I think the cause itself is very worthwhile and needed. That being said, it wouldn't be a Kenny Poo blog entry without including the good, the bad and the ugly, would it?
So, without further adieu, here is the Kenny Poo Review.
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There was an overflowing abundance of great music nostalgia on display at this affair, but without question the highlight of the night was Billy Joel. After all, Hurricane Sandy was a NY/NJ disaster, and the benefit was held in Madison Square Garden, so who better to represent the heart and soul of those affected than New York's own legendary living music legend?
Looking so at home with his grand piano on the MSG stage, Joel picked all the right songs and sounded fantastic. The highlights were Anthony's Song and, of course, New York State Of Mind. Billy is so real, so dripping with NY life and authenticity, you never got the feeling he was there as a mercenary trying to promote his career. He shoulda been the one to close out the show instead of Paul McCartney, who was trying way too hard to be epic with the Nirvana "reunion", but came across as awkward and forced instead.
Also impressive last night was Roger Waters, who showed he's still got it (including the self-indulgence) after all these years. Performing a series of classic Pink Floyd songs, Waters voice was healthy and strong, and the band sounded outstanding. Still, without Gilmour there's always that something missing. Too bad they can't stand each other, because as a team they're always better than as independent parts. Yes, Vedder did an admirable pinch hit, but it's still not the same.
The Who damn near gave a full concert, performing six songs that seemed to stretch for almost an hour. Gotta love how they gave it everything they had, and all things considered they still sound pretty damn good. Haven't lost their rock edge. Unfortunately, though, not everything was so beautiful in their performance. I'll be commenting on Roger Daltry's most unfortunate torso decision in "The Ugly" segment of this post.
Coldplay's Chris Martin, looking classy for the occasion wearing tux with black tie, opened his set with a nice solo performance of Viva La Vida. He then brought out REM's Michael Stipe (who suddenly got very old, making me feel very old) for a heartfelt reprisal of Losing My Religion. I really wished Martin had also called on native New Yorker Pia Toscano to sing Fix You with him, but it wasn't to be. Pia did a beautiful and moving cover of it to raise money for Sandy victims last month, so it would have been very fitting.
Also deserving of props for great/brief performances: Eric Clapton showing that he's still got guitar god swag, the Rolling Stones for a rocking an energized two song set, and Bruce Springsteen for his vintage rock grit.
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I thought the worst was behind me after seeing Adam Sandler's predictably tasteless fail at comedically singing Leonard Cohen's anthem, Hallelujah. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Kanye West's absolutely disgraceful rap performance, replete with lyrics about slapping bitches and trashing cops, was by far the lowest point of the night.
Wearing a black pleated skirt with black leather tights and a black t-shirt, Kanye looked as inapporpriate as he sounded. With that, allow me to give a brief message to anyone who happened to like this performance:
WTF ARE YOU THINKING?? THAT WAS SHIT! HE IS SHIT! THE FACT THAT THIS SHIT WAS DONE AT A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR VICTIMS OF A HURRICANE IS COMPLETE AND UTTER SHIT! KANYE WEST CAN GO FUCK OFF, AND STAY FUCKED OFF!!
Thank you. I feel better for having said that.
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Well, as I said above, we have to congratulate Daltry and Townsend for showing us that The Who can still rock it out. Unlike Bon Jovi, who now looks and sounds like an adult contemporary pretty boy, Roger and Pete blasted out the most classic of their classic rock tunes.
That being said, when Daltry felt compelled to unbutton his shirt and jacket so we could admire his sweaty, scarred, shaved, sagging 68 year-old flesh I was reaching for the barf bag. For the love of GOD, why does he think anyone would want to see that? Roger this Roger: Keep your fucking shirt on from now on.
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I've grown so accustomed to seeing Phillip Phillips performing Home as an inspirational song that it seemed weird he wasn't there. He did such a great show after the storm with the kids of PS22, so I'd have really loved seeing him perform with them again at MSG. Below is a video from that day, his performance of Gone, Gone, Gone, and with that I'm gone, gone gone myself.