There was such a genuine shock and pain and you could see it in people's faces. It was a time of anthrax letters and a feeling as if the world could come apart at any moment.
With that backdrop, musicians came together to lift our spirits and make us feel less alone. I think it's fair to say that even people who normally don't watch musical events or big shows or who weren't fans of many of the performers sat glued to the television or attended the concerts in solidarity.
Ten years on, we may joke more and we've proved there is no end to irony, but we also proved to ourselves that in real times of calamity, we will step up.
Our public workers were nothing short of awesome.
Here are five tribute concerts that happened shortly after 9/11.Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company, John Waite, The Knack, Peter Frampton and Eddie Money among others. It was a real, practically old-fashioned, Midwestern rock show for the people.
4) United We Stand: What More Can I Give - Washington, D.C.: October 21, 2001: A benefit concert held at RFK Stadium in DC included performers such as Michael Jackson, James Brown, Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC among others. It makes you wonder what the kids thought of James Brown and what the parents thought of the boy bands. Did anyone learn anything that day?Jay-Z - New York City: September 11, 2009: One hundred percent of the profits were put towards the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund. Concert featured Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna and Kanye West and was held at Madison Square Garden.
2) The Concert for New York City: October 20, 2001: This benefit concert held at Madison Square Garden was organized by Paul McCartney and featured The Who, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, David Bowie, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child and comedians Billy Crystal, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler.Bruce Springsteen took his song about Asbury Park, "My City of Ruins," and modified it slightly for the event. (On a positive note, Asbury Park is also no longer in ruins!). Other performers included Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, U2, Faith Hill, Billy Joel, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready, Paul Simon, Wyclef Jean, Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi's Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Dixie Chicks and Alicia Keys among the many.
The concert aired without commercial interruption on all major networks.
Johnny Van Zandt photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images