Beloved New Jersey boys Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi got the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief mega gig at New York's Madison Square Garden off to a rocking start on Wednesday (12Dec12) by teaming up for a rousing rendition of Born To Run.

The Boss and The E Street Band kicked off proceedings with their hits Land of Hope and Dreams and Wrecking Ball, before taking a moment to send a special prayer for the victims of the natural disaster, which devastated America's East Coast when it struck in late October (12).

Springsteen recalled how devastated he was to see the Asbury Park Boardwalk in New Jersey battered in the former hurricane, telling the sold-out crowd: "It was painful to see it (the Boardwalk) damaged after all that time from the recent storm and to see the Jersey Shore damaged, because the Jersey Shore has always been a special place, it's been inclusive... and that's been a principle part of the characteristic of Jersey and that's what's made it special...

"I pray that that characteristic remains along the Jersey Shore, it's what makes it special. So tonight, this is a prayer for all our struggling brothers and sisters in New York and all along New Jersey."

He performed the fitting My City of Ruins, and then had the audience on its feet as he invited his pal and neighbour Jon Bon Jovi to join him onstage for Born to Run.

Comedian Billy Crystal became the first celebrity of the night to share his story of his hard-hit hometown of Long Beach in Long Island, New York as he urged fans and viewers tuning in online and on Tv around the world to give generously to aid the ongoing relief efforts.

He said, "It was the perfect place to grow up - the motto of our town is, 'I have Long Beach sand in my shoes' and now that sand is still in their kitchens, and their living rooms, and still in their streets. The ocean I used to dream about became their worst nightmare.

"No one could have anticipated the level of devastation Sandy would bring, or just how many lives it would affect. Over 100 people died, over 600,000 homes and 500,000 businesses were destroyed or damaged, entire neighbourhoods were wiped out...

"(But) not only did Sandy not put us down, we stayed on our feet and tonight, with your help, we will emerge stronger and better than before."

The 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief is also set to feature performances from fellow rock icons Sir Paul MCCartney, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones and The Who, as well as rapper Kanye West and R&B superstar Alicia Keys.