Scheduling conflicts don't apply when big celebrities are needed for a good cause.
An all-star team assembled tonight for a telethon benefiting the Red Cross in the wake of post-tropical storm Sandy, which rammed into the East Coast earlier this week with hurricane-caliber intensity, killing more than 70 people and causing billions of dollars in damage in New York, New Jersey and beyond.
But while the atmosphere was subdued Friday as celebs ranging from Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon to Sting and Steven Tyler did their part to bring in donations, spirits were riding high. Here are some of the night's most memorable moments:
• Excellent Acoustics: Perhaps in a nod to the fact that so many New Yorkers were left without power up until today, all of tonight's performances were stripped-down versions of more booming productions, making for pitch-perfect musical accompaniment.
• Christina Aguilera opened the telethon with "Beautiful"; Jon Bon Jovi, who also was seen touring his New Jersey hometown of Sayreville, strummed "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and "Livin' on a Prayer"; Tyler joined Fallon for "Under the Boardwalk," with piano and guitar accompaniment from Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, and then wailed "Dream On" with fellow Aerosmith mates Joe Perry and Brad Whitford; Sting plucked out "Message in a Bottle"; Joel hammered out "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)"; Mary J. Blige warbled "The Living Proof"; and Springsteen and the E Street Band closed with "Land of Hope and Dreams."
• Matt Lauer hit the right notes as host, with help from Stewart, Brian Williams and Al Roker.
• Williams and Stewart provided the comic relief, the NBC Nightly News and Daily Show stars continuing their mock-rivalry when Williams began with, "Growing up on the Jersey Shore as a short, Jewish..." "I think that's my line," Stewart said. "Oh, sorry," Williams apologized.
• For an event that came together in just a few days, the star power was heavy: In addition to those mentioned, Kevin Bacon, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Devito, Tina Fey and ann curry all showed up to help out.
Speaking on behalf of New York, New Jersey and the rest of the affected areas, Stewart promised, "We're coming back."
Meanwhile, whatever is raised tonight will go in the Red Cross' coffers along with seven-figure donations from News Corp., Disney and other corporations, as well as the $100,000 Jersey girl Chelsea Handler pledged the other night and $100,000 from Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Cocktails and its parent company, Beam Inc.
Ben Stiller, who has tweeted prolifically about donating to the Red Cross this week, was spotted at a Brooklyn shelter earlier today serving food, and yesterday, Alec Baldwin visited NYU students who had been evacuated from their dorms and were staying at the Kimmel Center in Washington Square.
Would you like to help? Text REDCROSS to 90999 ($10 donation) or visitredcross.org