T he two screen viewer found Nirvana tonight. They also enjoyed the Who, the Stones and what's left of the Beatles. Armed with iPads, Droids, Samsung Galaxy's and more mobile devices they experienced 121212 Concert for Sandy Relief through broadband cable, Xbox, DirectTV, streaming video, radio and much more. These viewers interacted with the universal audience via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even a dash of Google plus.
Each member of the billion strong audience became an instant critic. Each #121212concert hashtag became the instant water cooler conversation. Jokes about aging rockers. Sentimental thoughts about the relief effort. Remarks about the lovely Alicia Keys or laughs over funnyman Adam Sandler became an instant shared experience.
HD giant screens with crisp surround sound brought the concert into homes with images more glorified than the ones available to those high rollers in the front row at MSG. Roger Daltrey's beads of sweat and Pete Townsend's arthritic hands were larger than life.
ITunes was selling the music of the night before the night was even over. On Foursquare people checked in with where they were watching or maybe listening via iPhone or the car radio. 37 television or cable networks carried the concert. Movie theaters carried Sandy Relief on big screens.
You could Text your donation. You could phone it in to a celebrity. You could donate online. I suppose they'd even accept a check in the mail. This was full integration of media, communication and information directed toward helping those hit hardest by the super storm.
John Sykes was one of the founders of MTV and currently runs Clear Channel Entertainment. He is a Syracuse University graduate. He was one of a small group of mega producers in charge of tonight's event. He had the same role in the wake of 9/11 for the last comparable benefit concert. John told Billboard magazine that the group wanted to "take advantage of the incredible technology explosion over the last decade and key into all the opportunities that will bring us in order to raise funds."
This concert certainly did that. And, by the way, it was one terrific show too.