Rock 'N Roll steps up
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, many groups have offered their assistance to help aid the relief effort. However no one expected the world of rock music to step up the way that it did. Throughout the past two months, massive benefit concerts, telethons, albums, and singles have been met by a wave of unprecedented success.
America: A Tribute to Heroes Telethon, which featured a variety of different artists, raised an astonishing $150 million dollars after the airing. Paul McCartney's New York City tribute concert--which included classic performers such as The Who, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, along with younger acts such as Destiny's Child and Jay-Z--not only raised $30 million dollars, but gave the heroes of the New York City Police and Fire Departments front row seats to an amazing event.
The generosity was also matched through the release of new albums and singles. God Bless America, a compilation of patriotic songs by various artists, shot straight to number one on the Billboard 200, while "What's Going On," the all-star single that was organized by Bono of U2, is becoming a worldwide hit.
All too often, artists are accused of participating in events like these because of a sense of duty rather than a genuine interest. This time around, however, a sense of compassion seems to be taking the forefront. Musicians are stepping up because they care, not because they feel like they should.
While at the U2 concert in Providence on Halloween, I saw a great group show this compassion. The songs that the band performed were delivered with a sense of sincerity and poignancy that was only intensified by the September 11th attacks. For the encore, Bono walked on stage with an "FDNY" shirt on as the chords to "One" began to play. Their message, "We're one but we're not the same, we get to carry each other" filled the arena as a giant screen scrolled the names of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks. As the music stopped, Bono invited members of the FDNY and NYPD to come on stage to embrace him.
This is about the time that I realized that this situation truly brought out the best in the musicians of the world. It showed me that behind all the glamour and the riches, these people are sincerely willing to do their part to aid the recovery of our country.