Lancashire TelegraphMusic royalty in Sandy benefit gig (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Music royalty in Sandy benefit gig

Lancashire Telegraph: Eric Clapton played at the Superstorm Sandy benefit gig (AP/Starpix) Eric Clapton played at the Superstorm Sandy benefit gig (AP/Starpix)

Alicia Keys' Empire State Of Mind closed a star-studded New York benefit concert for the victims of Superstorm Sandy - nearly six hours after Bruce Springsteen kicked off the show with Land Of Hope And Dreams.

In between, the Madison Square Garden stage hosted a mini-Nirvana reunion with Sir Paul McCartney playing the part of Kurt Cobain, a duet between Coldplay's Chris Martin and former REM singer Michael Stipe, Kanye West wearing a leather kilt and enough British music royalty to fill an old rockers' home.

The sold-out show was televised live, streamed online, played on the radio and shown in theatres all over the world. Producers said up to two billion people were able to experience it live.

"I know you really wanted One Direction," Chris Martin said of the popular British boyband. "But it's way past their bedtime. That's why you get one quarter of Coldplay."

The participants, many natives of the area and others who know it well, struck a defiant tone in asking for help to rebuild sections of the New York metropolitan area devastated by the late October storm.

"When are you going to learn?" comic and New Jersey native Jon Stewart said. "You can throw anything at us - terrorists, hurricanes. You can take away our giant sodas. It doesn't matter. We're coming back stronger every time."

Jersey shore hero Springsteen addressed the rebuilding process in introducing his song My City Of Ruins, noting it was written about the decline of Asbury Park, New Jersey, before that city's renaissance over the past decade.

He mixed a verse of Tom Waits' Jersey Girl into the song before calling New Jersey neighbour Jon Bon Jovi to join him in a rousing Born To Run. Springsteen later returned the favour by joining Bon Jovi on Who Says You Can't Go Home.

"This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden," Rolling Stones rocker Sir Mick Jagger said of the line-up, which also included The Who, Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.

Proceeds from the show will be distributed through the Robin Hood Foundation. More than 30 million dollars (£18.6 million) was raised through ticket sales alone.

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