The Concert For New York City
If the secret to good comedy is timing, the key to pulling together a good live album is editing -- an undoubtedly torturous process for this excellent two-disc set culled from hours of exciting performances. Remarkably, the presentation here is every bit as moving and memorable as the original concert, from the first notes of David Bowie's sparse, gripping version of Paul Simon's "America" to the sing-along coda of Paul McCartney's freshly minted "Freedom." Whether it was the emotion of the evening or the support of the enthusiastic crowd, just about all of the classic rock icons who joined in this tribute to Gotham's heroes turned in spectacular performances. The Who, a palpable favorite of the thousands of uniformed personnel in the crowd, are represented by a trio of hard-charging tunes, capped by a screaming "Won't Get Fooled Again." Fellow survivors Mick Jagger and Keith Richards also pull out all the stops, particularly on a suitably heartfelt "Salt of the Earth." The apocalyptic imagery of Billy Joel's altogether appropriate "Miami 2017" is guaranteed to raise a few goose bumps, as is, for very different reasons, the a cappella gospel medley turned in by Destiny's Child. And just to balance out the heaviness, the producers peppered the set with interludes like Adam Sandler's fist-pumpingly profane "Operaman" routine and the impromptu “Kiss my Irish ass!” monologue that made fireman Mike Moran a cult hero. But the best reason to own this piece of history? Proceeds from sales of the set go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund benefiting victims of the September 11th tragedy.