MTV Brings Out Stars To Support Katrina Victims
MTV US benefit concert brings out a diverse range of acts
Saturday night saw MTV bring together more than 50 of the biggest names in music for a concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The ReAct Now: Music & Relief Concert was staged in Los Angeles and aired without ad breaks on all of MTV Networks channels in the US. The emotional four-hour programme featured musicians from all walks of life, including many representing the sounds of New Orleans. Throughout, details of how to contribute to relief efforts scrolled along the bottom of the screen.
"After watching [news of the disaster] on TV, we were just like, 'What can we do?' " Good Charlotte's Benji Madden said backstage, echoing the words of dozens of peers who also poured into studios in New York and Nashville, and invited cameras to their concerts around the world.
In between performances, other musicians and celebrities made appearances, speaking about New Orleans and the horror of watching Katrinas aftermath. Kelly Clarkson and Ciara were among the stars moved to tears discussing the tragedy.
"I remember this guy [on TV] recalling how he was in the living room with his kids and he was holding onto his wife's hand and he was saying that he couldn't hold on any longer, and now she's gone and doesn't know where he is," Ciara said. "I was touched."
A clearly upset Xzibit went on to add: "I have a 10-year-old son, and to see people his age not in a Third World country, but right here in the U.S., digging through trash two days with no food or water, trying to find something to eat and pick it off the ground ... [that] was very disturbing, and I will never forget that."
Of the dozens of celebrity volunteers, some were there simply because they wanted to do something after watching the aftermath of the storm unfold. Others, however, had more personal motivations.
Sheryl Crow recorded her 1996 self-titled album in New Orleans and says she's had a love affair with the city ever since. "There is an undeniable energy in New Orleans," she said. "The people there are extremely soulful ... and there is a real spiritual vibe about it."
Randy Jackson added: "I grew up in Baton Rouge and learned to be a musician down there [in New Orleans]. I call it the only city in America that has its own brand of music."
ReAct Now: Music & Relief kicked off with Alicia Keys performing a stirring rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel, followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock's rocking version of "Sweet Home Alabama."
This set the tone for an evening where a diverse array of artists picked appropriate songs, some from their own back catalogues, others performing covers. Many acts followed the acoustic route, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Under the Bridge, and Beck with Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes.
Hip-hop was also represented with Kanye West, Common and, in a last-minute addition, the Game, who performed Dreams.