Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash and so many more

The listed headliners alone were enough to justify outrageous ticket prices for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first 25th anniversary concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden last night: Crosby, Stills & Nash, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon solo, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band can all fill arenas by themselves. Yet they weren’t even half the talent in the room. As each of those top-billed acts brought out one legendary friend or forebear after another to jam on stage, a truly epic event took form. (Check out a full set list after the jump.) By the end of the night — which was actually 1:30 this morning — the performers had succeeded at a goal that the Hall of Fame itself only sometimes reaches: They had presented a convincing rock canon, a rich history that’s still living and breathing in the present tense.

Every time I thought I couldn’t holler any louder, someone came along to prove me wrong. Paul Simon dedicating a sweet, sad “Here Comes the Sun” to George Harrison — with David Crosby and Graham Nash on harmony. Bruce Springsteen covering “Fortunate Son” — with John Fogerty growling along. Little Anthony and the Imperials singing a cappella doo-wop, their voices miraculously as heavenly as ever. Sam Moore (in a t-shirt reading “SAM/IS WHO I AM”) ripping through “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin'” — with a top-form E Street Band plus a vintage Stax horn section behind him. Stevie Wonder paying tribute to Michael Jackson by covering “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Darlene Love building what Springsteen termed “a one-woman wall of sound” with some help from the E Street Band. Oh yeah, and some guy called Billy Joel coming out well after midnight for (Springsteen’s image again) a historic New Jersey-Long Island summit.

By calling out those particular highlights, I’ve short-changed any number of moments that would have been call-a-friend peaks at another show. That’s on top of all the headliners doing superlative tours through their own hit parades. It would have been exhausting if it wasn’t so exhilarating.

Tonight, U2, Aretha Franklin, Metallica, and who knows who else will take the Garden stage for a second Hall of Fame anniversary concert; both shows will air on HBO Nov. 29. If you’re a fan of things that are awesome, I recommend you tune in. Til then: Were you there last night? Which were your favorite performances? Weigh in below.

Set list:
Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Woodstock”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Marrakesh Express”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Almost Cut My Hair”
Bonnie Raitt with Crosby and Nash, “Love Has No Pride”
Bonnie Raitt with Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Midnight Rider”
Jackson Browne with Crosby, Stills & Nash, “The Pretender”
James Taylor with Crosby and Nash, “Mexico”
Crosby, Stills & Nash with James Taylor, “Love the One You’re With”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Rock & Roll Woman”
Crosby, Stills & Nash with Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Bonnie Raitt, “Teach Your Children”
Paul Simon, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”
Paul Simon, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”
Paul Simon, “Call Me Al”
Dion DiMucci with Paul Simon, “The Wanderer”
Paul Simon with Crosby and Nash, “Here Comes the Sun”
Paul Simon, “Late in the Evening”
Little Anthony and the Imperials, “Two Kinds of People”
Simon & Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence”
Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”/”Not Fade Away” medley
Simon & Garfunkel, “The Boxer”
Simon & Garfunkel, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Simon & Garfunkel, “Cecilia”
Stevie Wonder, “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Stevie Wonder, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”
Stevie Wonder, “I Was Made to Love Her”
Stevie Wonder, “For Once in My Life”
Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”
Stevie Wonder, “Boogie On Reggae Woman”
Smokey Robinson with Stevie Wonder, “The Tracks of My Tears”
John Legend with Stevie Wonder, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”
Stevie Wonder with John Legend, “The Way You Make Me Feel”
B.B. King with Stevie Wonder, “The Thrill Is Gone”
Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City”
Stevie Wonder with Sting, “Higher Ground”/”Roxanne” medley
Stevie Wonder with Jeff Beck, “Superstition”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
Sam Moore with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Hold On, I’m Comin'”
Sam Moore with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band,”Soul Man”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with Tom Morello, “The Ghost of Tom Joad”
John Fogerty with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Fortunate Son”
John Fogerty with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Proud Mary”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with John Fogerty, “Oh, Pretty Woman”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Jungleland”
Darlene Love with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “A Fine, Fine Boy”
Darlene Love with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Da Doo Ron Ron”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with Tom Morello, “London Calling”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Badlands”
Billy Joel with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “You May Be Right”
Billy Joel with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Only the Good Die Young”
Billy Joel with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “New York State of Mind”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with Billy Joel, “Born to Run”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with Billy Joel, Darlene Love, Sam Moore, John Fogerty, Tom Morello, Jackson Browne, and Peter Wolf, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher)”

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Comments (86 total) Add your comment
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  • rudy

    gohst of tom joad with bruce aND PAUL SIMON WERE MY FAV

  • momma bear

    I was there and it was truly EPIC! But am kicking myself because I had to leave at what I presumed was 3/4 way thru Bruce’s set (at 12:45 am) and missed Billy Joel! Damn! Too many moment to pick just one — i definitely enjoyed S&G and the Stevie/Sting Collab was great too

  • Elizabeth

    Should’ve been in Cleveland… what other ‘hall of fame’ has all of its events in a different city? Its such a joke!

    • uhh

      The joke is that the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame is in freakin’ Cleveland!

      • Eric

        The term “Rock-n-Roll Hall” came from Cleveland. The joke is that people feel the need to visit New York for what should have been a Cleveland event.

      • Amo

        @uhh, the term Rock and Roll and the first Rock and Roll concert was help in Cleveland. NY had the Annex- which they couldn’t even keep open. “closed 1/10/10″

    • bob

      maybe they should have the superbowl in ohio too. it’s a fundraiser, if they had it in cleveland they would probably raise 100 dollars.. MSG is the Best venue on earth for a concert, to think otherwise is assinine.. unless you’re from cleveland.

      • Elizabeth

        I am from Cleveland… the joke is all those acts listed have played in Cleveland and done well.

    • Craig

      Actually, the Hall of Fall Foundation is in NYC. The Museum in Cleveland pays a license fee to use the name. But is a completely seperate legal entity

  • Jessica

    Holy crap. I got chills just reading that set list. I don’t know if I could have survived being there! I’m looking forward to the HBO special.

  • Big Kahuna

    The Springsteen/Joel jam (?) on “New York State of Mind” is still running through my head. And Tom Morello’s guitar playing was out of this world. My wife kept asking ,”Who is that guy, anyway?”

  • CinemaRay

    I was there and today my voice is hoarse from singing and screaming my head off. It was six hours of truly magnificent performers. I could not believe I was there and I have tickets for tonight and even though I’m tired from last night and only got 4 hours of sleep…I am ready to be awed again. LOVE LIVE ROCK & ROLL!!

  • jack

    Does Jackson Browne have incriminating pictures of someone? How/why is he always playing this show?

  • Erica

    You forgot Rosalita!!!!!!

    It was an amazing show :-)

    • Len

      Rosie was not played!! An amazing, not to be forgotten epic. Little Anthony was great, as was everyone. I am exhausted,,

  • wittgenstein

    Jackson Browne is fantastic – loved hearing him as much as years ago. (And why bring a bad vibe? The concert was nirvana.)

  • yana

    i hope someone will post this shot on youtube soon.

  • Cletus

    Seems like the last benefit concert. And the one before that. The songs may not change, but the faces stay the same. Crosby, Stills & Nash? Paul Simon? Bonnie Rait ????!!! At the Superbowl, Springsteen looked like a senile bum wildly swinging a metal detector to fend off the cops. I wish these people would retire with some semblance of their dignity intact.

  • Samantha Delynne

    I say that The female Rock Group The Bangles should be Inducted in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.That would be good.

  • Sheldon

    This was one fantastic event – six hours of great performances. Springsteen and Morello were incredible.

  • DANIELSCOTT

    For those who did not attend I would definitely get HBO and see this concert it was fabulous brought back a lot of old memories and Billy Joel and Bruce at the end was great. I have not been to a concert in a while but,I have to rate it right up there in the top 3. The variety of music and the jams was superb. Hats off to the hall what a great experience. My girlfriend says “a once in a life time experience”

  • Ellen Victor

    I’m still dancing. But I teared up over Simon and Garfunkel holding on to each other. Great to see them genuinely happy to be together again.

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