Music delivers the message of hope

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After more than a year, Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane,” is not the ringtone on my cell phone. Even though it has nothing to do with weather, when my phone rang during the storm, it just reminded me of the water rising outside my home in Ventnor. 

Sandy came ashore in Atlantic City on Monday, Oct. 29 and during the week that followed I have listened to a lot of music while working.

At the end of a long week of recovery, NBC Universal hosted a benefit concert for the American Red Cross Friday, Nov. 2. “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” the one-hour commercial-free telethon featured Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.

Christina Aguilera opened the show, which began 8 p.m. with a soulful performance of “Beautiful.”

Host Matt Lauer from NBC’s “Today” show showed news clips of storm, from its forecast to footage of devastating storm coverage. He said eight million homes were without power and six million flights cancelled at airports from Virginia to Rhode Island.

Lauer said the storm was responsible for 88 deaths and an estimated $50 billion in damage to personal property and business.

In one segment, Jon Bon Jovi visited his hometown of Sayreville to shoot footage of residents who lost their entire homes due to flooding along the river.

“We need all the help we can get,” said one woman.

Bon Jovi played an acoustic medley including “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” The trio featured a violinist performed in front a screen displaying images of the storm’s aftermath.  

Ann Curry reported on devastation in Staten Island and interviewed resident Phyllis Puglia who found her home literally in pieces along the marshland.

Even comedians like Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon were somber in their call for people to donate to the Red Cross.

Billy Joel delivered a rocking performance of "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)." The song was eerie since its lyrics describe New York City falling dark at the end of the world.

“Under the Boardwalk,” is synonymous with the Jersey Shore. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined Jimmy Fallon, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen for a heartfelt rendition of the tune made famous by The Drifters. In one of the lighter moments, Jon Stewart took a jab Fallon, saying he was bold for “taking the lead vocal” from three of rock’s most iconic singers.

Brian Williams reported on how the storm changed the landscape of Seaside Heights as waves took homes that stood along the ocean.

Williams said that when you think its going to get better you suddenly realize it’s going to take a long time and its never going to be normal again.

Asbury Park native Danny DeVito introduced Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford of Areosmith for a striped down rendition of “Dream On.” While pounding on the piano, Steven Tyler emoted every syllable he sung. Many of the performers had the Red Cross symbol visible for the camera and Tyler ensured his right sleeve was branded with the iconic

One of the many harrowing tales depicted during the broadcast was the destruction of more than 100 homes in the Breezy Point, Rockaway Beach, New York. Matt Lauer said because the water was so high when the flames broke out, firefighters couldn’t reach the homes leading to mass destruction.

Whoopi Goldberg thanked first responders for their continuing efforts to provide relief during and after the storm. “We’re gonna get through this if we work together,” she said.

Appropriately, Sting performed “Message in a Bottle,” on a nylon string guitar. “I’m sending out an S.O.S. - to the world,” sang Sting, echoing the pleas for help from many of the people profiled during the broadcast.

Mary J. Blige sent her prayers to everyone affected by the hurricane and gave me chills with her incredible vocals on "The Living Proof."

Acknowledging that Jerseyans identify themselves by exits on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike Brian Willams said he was 114 and Jon Stewart said he was exit 9A.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band delivered a thrilling performance of "Land of Hope and Dreams." The rousing song ended the broadcast on an encouraging and high note.

Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon asked people to use social media to spread the message with #SandyHelp on Twitter and encouraged people to donate to the Red Cross by texting RedCross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

See for information and donate from iTunes

To donate by phone call 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Watch the video below or see the video on NBC

Comment on Twitter @DBCurrent and use #TheHighNote 

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