Billboard -- The 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief featured some of the biggest names in popular music -- Paul McCartney! Billy Joel! Kanye West! -- and most of them happened to be male. Thankfully, Alicia Keys was on-hand to deliver a brief set before leading the crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden in an emotional encore performance on Wednesday night (Dec. 12).
CONCERT FOR SANDY RELIEF
•PHOTOS: Live & Backstage Pics
• Stream the Event Right Here
• Rolling Stones Added to the Mix
Sporting a sleek new haircut, the sole female performr of the evening kicked off her set with her latest "Girl on Fire" single, "Brand New Me." The singer sat behind her piano and belted the words of the emotional ballad with full force, before transitioning into fan favorite "No One." The R&B star left the crowd wanting for more after performing only two songs -- unbeknownst to most in attendance, she'd strut back on stage hours later to close the benefit concert with the song many hoped to hear, "Empire State of Mind." Dedicated servicemen and women swayed in rhythm onstage as Keys capped the night off with the ode to "concrete jungles where dreams are made of." Keys' double performance came one week after her latest studio album, "Girl on Fire," debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart. Between the two Keys sets, artists like Joel, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Michael Stipe and McCartney with the surviving members of Nirvana performed at the star-studded benefit concert.
Related article on Billboard.com:
Alicia Keys Scores Record-Tying Sixth Straight No. 1 Album on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums