A five hour concert aired live on VH1 with no commercials. The concert took place on October 20, 2001, and featured an eclectic mix of musicians (used losely in some cases), actors, and politicians. The concert had two purposes, to raise money for the victims of the terrorist attacks through the Robin Hood Relief Fund, and to lift the spirits of the city of New York, especially the rescue workers involved. There were some low moments, but there were many more incredible performances.

The concert opened with David Bowie doing an interesting interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel's outstanding song America. In the middle came The Who, doing their big hits, and the end featured Paul McCartney. Some others who were there: Bon Jovi, The Goo Goo Dolls, Elton John, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, The Backstreet Boys, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge, Billy Crystal, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Adam Sandler, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani, Will Ferrel, Mike Meyers,Five For Fighting and Eric Clapton.

I'm sure that almost anyone who saw the concert would agree with me that the high point was definitely The Who's set. After being introduced by John Cusack, they did an amazing job on Who Are You, Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, and Won't Get Fooled Again. Pete Townshend windmilled and played great solos throughout, and even did a good job singing the classic lines "Don't cry, don't raise your eye, it's only teenage wasteland." And Roger Daltrey did a great job on the harmonica at the end of Baba O'Riley. It was nice to see the middle-aged firemen feeling like kids again and singing along. In my opinion, the most eliectrifying part of their set came at the end of Who Are You. There had been a Union Jack on the screen above the stage for much of the entire song, and then right at the end, it was changed to an American flag.

Some other highlights: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards managed to pull off a pretty good set. Five for Fighting did a very pretty version of Superman. Will Ferrel came on as George W. Bush, and was very funny. "As you know, we've had to change the name of our operation in Afghanistan several times. I was thinking that I would ask some of the groups here for some advice. Destiny's Child suggested Operation Bootylicious. Paul McCartney suggested Taliband on the Run. And Jay Z suggested Bombing the shiznit out of the Tizaliban." Another good line: "You're all firefighters here. I saw some smoke coming out of Jay Z's dressing room, you might want to check that out." Billy Crystal was pretty funny too. "I've been backstage at a lot of rock concerts, and I gotta say, this is the first time I've ever seen rock stars avoiding white powder." Adam Sandler came as Operaman, and gave a hilarious performance. And, Billy Joel and Elton John playing together was really neat. And Hillary Clinton was booed mercilessly. Take that as you will.

But, besides The Who, my other favorite moment was Paul McCartney's set. I am a huge Beatles fan, and so I really enjoyed it. He opened with I'm Down, and did a great job. He played some songs from his new album, Lonely Road and From a Lover to a Friend. He also sang Yesterday (which he began a cappella, but was later joined by a string quartet). He sang Let It Be, and mid way through, some of the other Rock Stars, such as Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and Bon Jovi, came out to join him in singing it. Billy Joel joined in on the piano, and Eric Clapton came out and played on the guitar, laying down some of his trademark guitar solos during Let it Be, and the reprise of Paul's new song, Freedom, which has been dismissed by many as a bad song. (It's really not all that bad, plus, as one of my friends said, "He wrote Let It Be, so he could basically stand up there and play the ukelele and still be cool." Plus, it featured Eric Clapton!). Overall, it was an incredible concert.

It was rebrodcast on CBS later, but this version was totally butchered, featuring only a few songs, because it was only an hour long, and included commercials. Frankly, I'm surprised they managed to fit in as many songs as they did.

VH1 has since released a CD of the highlights of the concert, a two-disc set, with proceeds to benefit The Robin Hood Relief Fund. It does a decent job of recapturing most of the highlights. The tracklist:

Disc 1

  1. David Bowie - America
  2. David Bowie - Heroes
  3. Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer
  4. Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead Or Alive
  5. Bon Jovi - It's My Life
  6. Jay Z - Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
  7. The Goo Goo Dolls - American Girl
  8. Billy Joel - Miami 2017
  9. Billy Joel - New York State Of Mind
  10. Destiny's Child - Emotion
  11. Destiny's Child - Gospel Medley (You've Been So Good/ Now Behold The Lamb/Jesus Loves Me/ Total Praise)
  12. Eric Clapton (featuring Buddy Guy) - I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
  13. Adam Sandler - Operaman
  14. The Backstreet Boys - Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
  15. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards - Miss You
  16. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards - Salt Of The Earth

Disc 2

  1. Mike Moran FDNY
  2. The Who - Who Are You
  3. The Who - Baba O'Riley
  4. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
  5. Melissa Etheridge - Come To My Window
  6. Melissa Etheridge - Born To Run
  7. James Taylor - Fire and Rain
  8. James Taylor - Up On The Roof
  9. John Mellencamp - Peaceful World
  10. John Mellencamp (featuring Kid Rock) - Pink Houses
  11. Five For Fighting - Superman (It's Not Easy)
  12. Elton John - Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  13. Paul McCartney - I'm Down
  14. Paul McCartney - Yesterday
  15. Paul McCartney - Let It Be
  16. Paul McCartney - Freedom (Finale)

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