In the aftermath of two of the biggest rock concerts in history, an exhausted Joel Peresman tells me "now the REAL work starts."

The first task for the head of the foundation that runs the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is turning somewhere between eight and ten hours of prime musical footage into a four-hour show for HBO.

On October 29 and 30 the Hall filled Madison Square Garden with the crème-de-la-crème of rock and roll, a set list that included Jerry Lee Lewis; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and James Taylor; Simon & Garfunkel; Aretha Franklin; Annie Lennox; Bruce Springsteen; Billy Joel; Jeff Beck; Ozzy Osbourne; Patty Smith; Sting; U2; B.B. King; Mick Jagger and many, many more.

The staggering array of historic talent filled the news media and internet for two solid nights in a benefit event designed to raise a permanent endowment for the Museum. "We think it will be between $4 million and $5 million," says Peresman "We won't know for a while."

Since the unexpected choice of Cleveland's "North Coast" Lake Erie shore as the site of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years ago, the institution has been funded by what Peresman calls "the door and store." He says attendance has stabilized at between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors per year, less than 10% of whom come from northern Ohio. "We are at the great mid-point of our country in middle America," says Peresman, a Pittsburgh native. "People have come from almost 100 countries. For many of them, it's basically a pilgrimage."

The New York-based Foundation runs the annual induction ceremony and coordinates book production and a DVD series with Time-Life. It also raises money, including charitable donations. "This is a cultural institution that needs donor funding just like any other cultural institution," he says. "In some ways we're no different that the Museum of Modern Art, the Met, the Whitney and so on."

But with Rock & Roll, Peresman adds, teenagers teenagers are now a force driving attendance. "How many museums are there that you can offer to take your kids and they won't hate it?"

Peresman says the demographic has changed in the last four years, from a male-dominated clientele to a 50/50 split between men and women. The age range has also shifted from 38-45 years old to a much heavier attendance by families, often driven by teens 12-18 who say "Hey! Let's go see this!!"

Much of that has to do with an escalated internet presence driven by the Hall's proliferating on-line educational programs. "The kids are coming to see something they've heard about through to internet. They like to trace the roots of their favorite acts."

That includes the Beatles and the Doors, whose recent parties for new exhibits attracted a multitude of families. "It was amazing to see how many people showed up with their kids," Peresman says.

The Hall also runs distance learning programs and works with local schools down to the pre-kindergarten level. "We do things like ‘B' for Bo Diddley to the history of Rock & Roll and what it means to our country. We also do monthly curriculum nights based on the music," says Peresman. "It works."

Meanwhile the massive Madison Square Garden benefits are being widely compared with the legendary Musicians United for Safe Energy benefits of 1979 (which also spawned a platinum triple album and a major feature film), the concerts for Bengladesh, New York City and more.

With major corporate sponsors, VIP packages and "great support from the community at large, it all added up," says Peresman. "StubHub, a secondary ticket seller, even donated its profits."

With major renovations now looming on its lakefront building, the Hall is looking seriously at going green. Cleveland's Museum of Science and Industry, next door, currently hosts the nation's largest urban-based windmill, along with solar panels above its entrance.

"The goal of the show was to showcase what Rock & Roll really means to people," says Peresman. "To celebrate all the genres and influences."

"It is the soundtrack of our generation, spiritually, artistically and emotionally."

Harvey Wasserman helped coin the phrase "No Nukes" in 1973 and co-authored the "Song for Solartopia" with Pete Seeger.