I heard on the radio sometime after Hurricane Sandy hit, that there would be a benefit concert put on by a predictable group of aging rock stars (some of whom I like) and celebrities at Madison Square Garden. It turns out that show was even lamer than a cynic like myself would’ve imagined. Called “12-12-12″ by the organizers/media (it is SO nice to not have a TV!), the purported gross of $50 million (which obviously didn’t come from gate receipts) will go to the Robin Hood Foundation. You can bet the charity of choice was no coincidence but first the music…
Bruce Springsteen opened the show. He ain’t dumb and wasn’t gonna miss out on the chance to burnish his image as a hero to the working man (who was not in attendance). He missed a similar benefit right after 9/11 thrown by the same corporate/government shape-shifters. It’s really no surprise who performs at these events. The media/corporate elite largely came of age in the 60′s and 70′s so they favor the music of their youth. This is particularly true of the Robin Hood Foundation’s board . You can be sure a random cross-section of those who lost homes or businesses because of Sandy would not have requested these bands. Other metro area acts who appeared were Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and Alicia Keyes. They switched their song lyrics to include local neighborhoods and landmarks while also pumping up the crowd, assuring them they’d “get through this“. The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney and Roger Waters also performed. I was somewhat surprised that Roger Waters would attach himself to such a tawdry, canned show considering he’s been a brave, outspoken opponent of the endless wars launched since 9/11 and a critic of Israel but hey….he’s a rock star and can’t be up on everything! Forgiven. The others are, well, old and seem intent on not retiring gracefully which is their right. I just wonder who would pay to listen to any of them when they are so far past their prime. Their was some noise about Paul McCartney (who looks a lot like my 69 yr old Irish mother) closing the show with the surviving members of Nirvana but who could be excited about that? Really? Only the editors of Rolling Stone I think. Dave Grohl leads a very mediocre band but is now a member of the “in” crowd, those 20 or so musicians that are heavily promoted by the last remaining big, corporatist record companies.
The Robin Hood Foundation is a positively awful organization. It raises money and then distributes it to smaller charities. Supposedly its brilliance (according to the Chairman of Google) rests in its near perfect efficiency. The board pays all the expenses for the charity so 100% of the donations go to helping people (then why exist? why not just fund the targeted smaller charities?). I would tell anyone thinking of donating to RH to cut out the middleman and go directly to your preferred charity. The board is comprised of nefarious bankstas and other thieves from the business world with a few media types thrown in. The advisory board is similarly corrupt only with an added political and military mix. The military plays a significant role in Robin Hood’s raison d’être as one of their stated initiatives is veterans (the CEO of GE sits on the board of directors). Another is LGBTQ youth (just had a great idea…why not sign the LGBTQ up for the military when they turn 18?). It seems only natural that a large collection of thieves, brutal killers, propagandists and bad actors (pun intended) would get together and pool their vast resources for any number of reasons. They certainly could bribe the rockers and rappers who performed at Madison Square Garden to shill for them; wait, that’s exactly what happened on 12/12/12! In the future, whenever there’s a “Concert For”……..be sure to turn off and tune out!
Update: The album from the concert flopped despite the tremedous PR push. From Billboard.com: “…while the 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief debuts at No. 9 with 82,000. The digital-exclusive “12-12-12″ album sold much less than anticipated. Last Wednesday (Dec. 19), label sources had forecasted the live charity set could sell between 125,000 to 150,000. By Friday, those in the know had downgraded the “12-12-12″ album’s sales forecast to 100,000 to 130,000.
Even with about 60,000 pre-orders placed for the “12-12-12″ album via the iTunes Store (so say label sources), there didn’t seem to be sustained interest in the set following the all-star concert on Dec. 12.”