Stars play New York for World Trade Center victims

 

Thousands of people crammed into New York's Madison Square Gardens for a concert to raise funds for the victims of the World Trade Centre attacks.

Organisers hailed the line-up for the five-hour show as the greatest in rock history, with Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John, David Bowie and The Who among the names taking to the stage.

The show was organised in less than five weeks to honour those killed in the collapsed twin towers, especially the 400 firefighters, police officers and emergency workers killed in the terrorist strike.

More than 5,000 tickets were reserved for the families and colleagues of the dead rescue workers, including 80 in the front row who were given the tickets at the last minute by McCartney's fiancee, Ms Heather Mills.

Ms Mills was smuggled, dressed as a firefighter, into the sealed area around ground zero where Ladder Company 10, the nearest fire station to the World Trade Centre is located, to give out the 80 tickets hours before the show.

They were being joined in the audience by a who's who of stars, including Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Meg Ryan, Richard Gear, John Cusack and Mike Myers.

And in breaks between the music, short films by directors including Woody Allen, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese were shown.

The first act in the show was David Bowie, who said he was paying tribute to his local firefighters.

"My fellow New Yorkers, I sincerely would like to say hello to my local ladder company - you know where you are. It is an absolute privilege to play for you tonight," said Bowie, before singing We Could Be Heroes.

Other stars on stage included Elton John, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Destiny's Child, James Taylor and Jon Bon Jovi. Janet Jackson was making an appearance by satellite, while other bands including U2 sent recorded messages of support.

PA