As the second night of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary came to its climax, after nearly four hours of jaw-dropping musical collaborations, almost anything seemed possible. By this point Metallica had played with Ozzy Osbourne, Ray Davies and Lou Reed; Jeff Beck had jammed with Sting and Billy Gibbons; and U2 brought out Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and the Black Eyed Peas for their closing set. Yet, few people were prepared for what happened when U2 began playing the intro to "Gimme Shelter" with Will.i.am at the keyboard and Fergie recreating Merry Clayton's apocalyptic vocal intro. Without a word of introduction by Bono, surprise guest Mick Jagger sprinted onstage as the capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden let out one of the loudest cheers I've ever heard.
The show began, as it did on night one, with Jerry Lee Lewis alone at the piano. This time he did "Great Balls of Fire" -- concluding with the 74-year-old legend violently kicking over his piano stool. A short film about gospel and soul music preceded Aretha Franklin's entrance, who looked radiant in a bright red dress. Backed by a huge band that featured her son Teddy on guitar and a horn section, Franklin's set featured a cover of "New York, New York" and her 1970 hit "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)," which she dedicated to the song's co-writer, Ahmet Ertegun. Annie Lennox, who bowed down to Franklin as she took the stage, dueted on "Chain of Fools" and Lenny Kravitz joined the Queen of Soul for "Think." An encore of "Respect" had the entire crowd singing "R-E-S-P-E-C-T."