Katy Perry, Springsteen and Fireworks stars celebrate Biden and Harris
Even during the election campaign, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were able to come up with superstars – the top ranks from the film and music scene were also on hand when the 46th US President and Vice President took office: Rock legend Bruce Springsteen heated up on Wednesday with the classic “Land of Hope and Dreams ”, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons presented their new song“ Better Days ”, Demi Lovato delighted with the soul hit“ Lovely Day ”.
The grand finale belonged to pop star Katy Perry in white robe in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. With their hit song “Firework”, the capital experienced a fireworks spectacle that lasted for minutes. The sky above the White House glittered in bright rainbow colors.
With star power on stages and at balls, new presidents are traditionally celebrated on the day of the swearing in. But because of the corona pandemic and increased security precautions, the celebration marathon ran differently this time. The virtual stage on Wednesday evening (local time) was a live TV special, hosted by Tom Hanks (“Forrest Gump”, “Philadelphia”).
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the two-time Oscar winner welcomed an audience of millions to the start of “Celebrating America”. In the past few weeks and years we have witnessed “deep division and troubling hatred,” said Hanks. Now it is time for unity and a better community.
For 90 minutes, star performances from many parts of the USA followed, alternating with appearances by Americans who had excelled as helpers during the Corona crisis. A thank you went to the New York nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first US citizen to receive the vaccine against Covid-19 in December. Also presented were two children who started aid campaigns for the needy. Now they all helped to announce great musicians.
Rock star Jon Bon Jovi reported with the Beatles hit “Here Comes the Sun” from Miami, the Foo Fighters around frontman Dave Grohl were added from Seattle, star cellist Yo-Yo Ma from Boston. In Nashville, country stars Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard performed their new song “Undivided,” a song with a message of mutual understanding.
The text continues below the video.
The multiple Grammy winner John Legend sat in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the concert grand and performed the Nina Simone classic “Feeling Good”. In between, Biden, Harris and together the ex-presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also had their say in short speeches.
Big stars courted Biden and Harris during the daytime celebrations at the Capitol. Lady Gaga sang the US national anthem powerfully. With a sweeping red skirt and a striking, gold-shining dove of peace on her black top, the Grammy winner stepped up to a gold-colored microphone on the political stage. Latina star Jennifer Lopez, dressed all in white, made a moving performance with the songs “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”.
Country singer Garth Brooks appeared in front of the audience wearing a black cowboy hat. He started the spiritual song “Amazing Grace” and invited all Americans to sing along. Brooks, a Republican, had called his appearance prior to the celebration a “declaration of unity”. He had also appeared at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, but in 2017, according to his own statements, had to turn down an invitation to the swearing-in of Republican Donald Trump because of another date.
The contrast between Biden’s inauguration with pop megastars and Trump’s inauguration four years ago could hardly have been greater. Back then, the Republican only found a third-rate pop star named Jackie Evancho for the national anthem. The 16-year-old had previously participated in the casting show “America’s Got Talent”, the counterpart to “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”.
With his arduous search for stars around his celebration, Trump has drawn ridicule from the music scene. Refusals came from Elton John, DJ Moby and Andrea Bocelli, among others.
In 2009, when Obama’s first black US president took office, Aretha Franklin, arguably the greatest soul artist of all, sang. At Obama’s second ceremony in 2013, R&B star Beyoncé was in the limelight with the anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House, after Trump’s departure, other times are dawning again – also for the predominantly left-wing liberal music and film scene in the USA. Lady Gaga expressed this in a tweet on Wednesday. “I am honored to sing our national anthem for the American people.” This is a transition, a time of change, between the 45th and 46th US presidents. “That is very important to me.”