An especially historic inauguration saw an incredible lineup of musicians perform to celebrate the day. Despite COVID-19 preventing attendance of the event, the broadcasted performances were epic as the camera cut between the performers and now-President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The prime-time inauguration performances of yesterday were hosted by Tom Hanks, following the inauguration ceremony which occurred at 12pm EDT, during which Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. At former President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January of 2017, he saw an unprecedented number of artists turn down the opportunity to sing at an inauguration. This year however, the story was dramatically different.
This lineup is one for the books – perfect for the historic day. The concerts opened with Bruce Springsteen playing guitar at the Lincoln Memorial. He performed his 1999 song “Land of Hope and Dreams” with only his acoustic guitar. Springsteen, the first artist to have a Top 5 album each of the last six decades, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2016.
Foo Fighters also performed for the historic event with “Times Like These” off their 2003 album One by One. Prior to the performance, frontman David Grohl gave an introduction during which he advocated for teachers’ rights saying, “This year our teachers were faced with unprecedented challenges, but through dedication and creativity, they faced those challenges head on.” The performance begins with a slow build, but culminates in an epic, dance-worthy, celebratory ending. Foo Fighters have also just released a new single, “Waiting On A War” in celebration of Grohl’s 52nd birthday last week.
John Legend also appeared onstage at the Lincoln Memorial, appropriately covering “Feeling Good” made famous by Nina Simone. Legend, playing a grand piano, was another highlight of the night with his epic rendition of jazzy “Feeling Good.” Legend has been very outspoken throughout this election cycle, performing virtually at the 2020 Democratic National Convention and singing a cover of Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” following the news that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia in the election.
Demi Lovato gave a passionate performance of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” joined with background vocals from other celebrities and notably, frontline medical workers in their scrubs, to acknowledge their hard work throughout the pandemic. Lovato is also very outspoken about her political beliefs, and released a Trump diss-track entitled “Commander in Chief”, even teaming up with the political group The Lincoln Project to create its video.
Throughout the night, themes of unity and hope prevailed, yet the circumstances and tragedies of recent times were not forgotten. Fittingly, and in perfect Katy Perry form, the night was closed out by her 2010 smash-hit “Firework,” with plenty of amazing fireworks lighting up the D.C. skyline. Perry’s performance was chill-inducing, as she, along with and many Americans, look forward to the next four years.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz