Hope for Haiti Now

Like many of you, I sat down and took in the two hours of Hope for Haiti Now last night – a music-based benefit organized by overall good guy George Clooney. It was broadcast on most TV and cable networks. This will shock you, but Fox News did not – I repeat, DID NOT – broadcast the show last night. That is completely surprising to – well – nobody.

Well, those Fox News watching fu–tards missed out on some pretty cool moments last night. If you could make it through the awkward celebrity phone conversations with the general public, you saw the likes of Bono, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Bono, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Matthews and Neil Young, Sting, Shakira, and of course the Boss (and many others).

All of the performances can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon

Here’s a look at my favorite moments from the evening:

5. Bruce Springsteen – “We Shall Overcome”

This classic spiritual was covered by Bruce on his 2006 Seeger Sessions record. Last night, Bruce brought out his backup singers, along with Charles Giordano on accordion and Curt Ramm on trumpet.

4. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris – “Hallelujah”

I was pleasantly surprised by this. As covers of this Leonard Cohen song go, Jeff Buckley’s stands firmly above the rest. But Justin and Matt last night were spot on with their harmonies, and brought out the true beauty in the song – which is more of a lover’s lament than a song about hope, strength, and inspiration (the general theme of the night). I was most impressed by Matt Morris’s vocals.

3. Shakira – “I’ll Stand By You”

This song is one of my favorite Pretenders tunes, and Shakira nailed it, in my opinion. Of course, my opinion may have been different if she looked like Tiny Tim, but visually and aurally, it was fantastic – especially with the Roots backing her up.

2. Sting w/ the Roots – “Driven to Tears”

What a great version this was. The full, lush arrangement – Sting on acoustic surrounded by the Roots. Questlove, drummer for the Roots, mentioned on Twitter that he was really looking forward to this performance because he’s practiced drums to the Police since he was a kid.

1. Wyclef Jean – “Rivers of Babylon” > Haitian traditional

I’m a big fan of “Rivers of Babylon”, a song written by the Melodians in 1972, and covered by many, including Steve Earle. But when Wyclef shifted gears and launched into the percussive blast of his native Haiti, it was like a load being lifted from our shoulders. He sang in English and his native creole, sang about strength in the face of adversity, sang even about Anderson Cooper and CNN. It was a perfect ending to the night.

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