3 Sep 11
On 19 October 2001, Eric Clapton performed the final concert of his South American Tour at Foro Sol in Mexico City. Immediately afterward, he flew to the U.S. to take part in "The Concert For New York City" at Madison Square Garden the following evening, 20 October. Organized by Paul McCartney in the wake of the 9/11 U.S. terrorist attacks, it was a fundraiser for the Robin Hood 9/11 Relief Fund. The performances all paid tribute to the spirit of New York and the heroism of the rescue workers who worked tirelessly to save others. Five thousand members of the New York Fire, Police and Rescue crews and their families were in attendance as guests. At the time, the 5 1/2 hour long concert was broadcast live and commercial free by VH1 as well as simulcast by numerous U.S. radio stations and international media outlets. The event and later CD / DVD sales raised more than $30 million for the victims and their families.
Ten years later, on the anniversary of 9/11, the concert will be re-broadcast in its entirety without commercial interruption on VH1 in the U.S. from 4P to 10P (ET/PT). It will also be simulcast commercial-free on VH1.com. The re-broadcast will be hosted by actor / director / filmmaker Edward Burns, who took part in the original event. "The Concert For New York City: Ten Years Later" will also include the short films that were a part of the original telecast directed by some of Hollywood’s top filmmakers and entertainers. The films, all celebrating the spirit of New York, were shown throughout the evening and also aired live on VH1. Directors included Woody Allen, Edward Burns, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kevin Smith.
At Madison Square Garden on 20 October 2001, Eric Clapton performed alongside American blues legend Buddy Guy. They were backed by a band lead by Paul Shaffer (The Late Show with David Letterman). They duo performed "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Everythings Gonna Be Alright". Clapton also stepped out for the finale of "Let It Be" and McCartney’s specially penned song, "Freedom" alongside many of the performers and members of the NYC fire, police and rescue workers.
Other celebrity attendees / participants included Bill & Hillary Clinton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elton John, Billy Joel, Adam Sandler, Jay-Z, Marc Anthony, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, David Spade, Destiny’s Child, Adam Sandler, Julia Stiles, Denis Leary, Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Macy Gray, Goo Goo Dolls, Melissa Etheridge, India.Arie, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cusack, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and numerous professional athletes from New York sports teams.
Even though the tragic events of 9/11 occurred a decade ago, many victims, first responders and their families still require services that remain unfunded. Viewers of the "The Concert For New York City: Ten Years Later" wll be able to visit911relief.robinhood.org to contribute and learn about what still needs to be done. To get updates about the concert via Twitter, go to #Concert4NYC.
The complete concert was released in January 2002 on CD, DVD and VHS (the latter is now out of print). Proceeds from their sale benefi the Robin Hood 9/11 Relief Fund.
The Concert For New York City was also reviewed in Issue 31 of Where’s Eric! Magazine