Be forewarned. If you've set up your DVR to record tonight's 12.12.12 benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief, you might inadvertently miss the kick-off set by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
As of this morning, all channels listed as carrying the event on my DirecTV service had a program guide start time of 8 p.m. But an official missive delivered from the Madison Square Garden Company said the show at their New York city arena actually starts at 7:30 p.m - "everyone must be in their seat by 7:15 p.m." And a spokesperson told me that participating broadcast and cable channels will at the least "be recording starting then."
Could channels be doing a tape-delay number? Maybe to cut out discomforting comments from the likes of Kanye West (who did a major dump job on President George W. Bush during a Katrina benefit show) or other participants - Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Eddie Vedder, Alicia Keys, Roger Waters, The Who, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney? All of whom are hurting for the Hurricane Sandy victims in New York, the Garden State and elsewhere.
Oddly, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC feel no such loyalty. None of the major four are shown on the official. 12.12.12 website as carrying this fundraiser. If you rely on over-the-air broadcast TV signals, you'll need to tune to NJN channel 23, WPSG 57 - The CW Philly or WPPX 61. A source at 57 confirmed that operation will carry the show absolutely live, starting at 7:30 p.m., with a scheduled end time of midnight.
A mess of cable channels also will deliver the concert , including some you'd expect like VH1 Classic, Fuse. Palladia. HBO and Showtime plus a lot you wouldn't – Cooking, Bloomberg, IFC, FEARnet, G4, Discovery Fit & Health, Smithsonian and more. Corresponding websites (and more) will likewise stream the show.
If stuck in a car, tune in at 104.5 FM or Sirius/XM E Street Radio and Pearl Jam channels.
To enjoy the event in a quasi-concert setting with others, Cinemark Theaters nationwide is offering a big screen closed circuit TV version, with an admission donation to the cause equal to what kids normally pay for a movie. Closest theaters to us are the Cinemax 16 in Somerdale NJ and the Cinemax Movies 10 in Wilmington, Delaware.
With strangely resonant timing, the death of the 92-year-old Indian sitar master and world music guru Ravi Shankar was announced this morning. Shankar is widely credited with jump starting the charity mega concert boom in 1971, when he nudged his friend and student George Harrison to come to the relief of famine victims with the Concerts for Bangladesh, likewise staged at Madison Square Garden.