Music stars gather in concerts to raise money for terrorism victims

Monday, October 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ It began with the Backstreet Boys singing the national anthem and ended with Michael Jackson under a shower of red, white and blue confetti.

Tens of thousands of music fans gathered at Washington's RFK Stadium to see Jackson, 'N Sync, Aerosmith and an array of other pop stars at a marathon concert to celebrate America and raise money for victims of September's terrorist attacks.

``You are not alone. You are in our hearts, in our thoughts and in our prayers,'' Jackson said in a message to families of the victims.

Sunday's concert, ``United We Stand: What More Can I Give?'' raised about $2 million through the sale of more than 46,000 tickets. It was one of three benefit concerts over the weekend.

In Nashville, themes of patriotism, generosity and defiance of terrorism sounded as top country stars staged the third benefit concert of the weekend.

``Let freedom ring!'' Martina McBride sang in the opening song, her hit about spousal abuse, ``Independence Day.''

The crowd cheered at a later line which seemed aimed at terrorists who killed thousands on Sept. 11 in New York, Washington and rural Pennsylvania. ``May the guilty pay,'' McBride sang.

Also on the lineup for the show were Alan Jackson, George Jones, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Keith Urban and other top stars.

In Washington James Brown took the stage dressed in a gold suit. He segued from his classic ``Sex Machine'' to ``God Bless America.'' The audience sang along to the latter and waved small American flags.

Among the other performers were Mariah Carey, Bette Midler and Destiny's Child. Parts of the concert will be televised in a two-hour special on ABC Nov. 1.

Security was tight, with long lines forming as police searched concertgoers _ many clad in red, white and blue _ with handheld metal detectors.

Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Billy Joel headlined the Concert for New York at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.