Little Kids Rock Benefit NYC 2014: Joan Jett, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Billie Joe Armstrong And More Raise Money For Music Education [PHOTO SLIDESHOW]
Little Kids Rock put on its sixth annual benefit concert last night (Oct. 24) at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The show raised around $1.5 million for the organization, which helps keep music programs alive in disadvantaged schools. The evening paid tribute to Joan Jett, the recipient of their Rocker of the Year Award.
Prior to the Jett tribute, the organization held an auction with items such as a dinner with the show's producers Steven and Maureen Van Zandt, which went for $60,000, an opportunity to perform on stage for the encore, which went for $20,000, one-of-a-kind artwork, autographed guitars and more. Students from the organization provided free music lessons to attendees before the show started as well.
The music began with the a cappella children's group Sharkapella singing pop songs from the balcony. Later in the evening, other students performed both cover songs and original pieces on the main stage.
Little Kids Rock founder David Wish then said a few words and introduced some guests of honor.
Jake Clemons, the nephew of Clarence Clemons and a member of the E Street Band's horn section, was this year's recipient of the Big Man of the Year award, which was named after his late uncle who was an early supporter of the organization. Prior to the Jett tribute, Clemons performed two songs with some kids who have benefited from the organization. First he played an acoustic guitar and sang his uncle's biggest solo hit "You're A Friend of Mine" then he played sax to back up two young girls on a song they wrote called "Valentines Song."
Soon after Clemons' performance, Cheap Trick took the stage to perform "I Hate Myself For Loving You." Later in the evening, Jett explained that she used to wear a Cheap Trick T-shirt back when she was in the Runaways.
Next up was Gary U.S. Bonds who performed "Eye To Eye" off the 1994 album Pure and Simple.
Brody Dalle (formerly of the Distillers) followed with a cover of the 1981 cut "Victim of Circumstance."
Jesse Malin, who owns and operates Bowery Electric and other NYC venues, got the punk vibes flowing during his tribute. He jumped on a table at the front of the room and belted out "Bad Reputation." Luckily the guests at the table didn't seem to mind.
Former Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna and her husband, former Beastie Boy Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz performed the 1983's "Fake Friends." Before she began the song, Hanna spoke about a time in the '90s when she had a lot of fake friends. Thanked Jett for being one of the only true friends she had and helping her out early in her career by letting her use her studio for free to make "the best recording I ever made."
Darlene Love took the stage next. She said that she hadn't planned on coming to the event because she had an early flight the next morning, but that when she heard Jett was being honored, she knew she had to attend. She performed a soul-tinged version of the 1988 track "Little Liar."
The punk rock returned with Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness, who sang 1981's "Love Is Pain." Things got sentimental when Tommy James came out to sing "Crimson and Clover" with Jett for her first performance of the evening. "Tommy James wrote one of my biggest hits," she told the crowd. "I was so nervous during rehearsal, I almost forgot the words!"
Jett stayed on stage and was joined by Green Day' frontman Billie Joe Armstrong for a rendition of the 1980 track "Don't Abuse Me."
Jett waxed sentimental once more when Alice Cooper came out to perform "Be My Lover," which is a song she covered in 1990. "He's a guy whose records I bought," she later said. "This is surreal."
Finally, for the last performance of the evening, all of the guest performers and children came on stage for Jett's signature hit "I Love Rock and Roll."
Check out our interview with Little Kids Rock founder David Wish to find out more information on the organization. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!