Hope and sorrow, in star-studded song, as DC marks Biden inauguration

From Lady Gaga to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bruce Springsteen to Katy Perry, top performers delivered musical commemorative messages and the ability to limit the inauguration process.

A full-haired, extremely confident Lady Gaga set up the national anthem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in a very Gaga way – with flamboyance, fashion and passion.

The Grammy winner wore a huge dove-shaped brooch and an impressive undulating red sculpted skirt as she sang into a golden microphone and delivered an emotional and powerful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” She was followed at Wednesday’s ceremony by Jennifer Lopez, dressed in white, who threw a string of Spanish in her medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” – a sharp nod to multiculturalism, just two weeks after white supremacists and others violent rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to undermine the peaceful transfer of power.

EM tweet – J Lo this country is your country

Jennifer Lopez belts out her version of “This Land Is Your Land” during the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/WbnqeI3kRl

– USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 20, 2021

And country star Garth Brooks, who smelled his black cowboy hat, sang a gospel-toned, soulful a capella rendition of “Amazing Grace,” his eyes closing too much on the song. He asked the audience to sing a verse with him: “Not only the people here, but the people at home, to work as one united.”

The three superstars were among a host of glittering celebrities who came down to Washington – virtually or in person – to welcome the new administration of Biden and Kamala Harris, a popular duo in Hollywood, where former President Donald Trump was certainly not. While stars for the most part refrained from Trump’s inauguration four years ago, the A-list was back for Biden.

Brooks was careful to call his decision to perform on Wednesday non-political and in the spirit of unity. He had performed during the inauguration celebration for Obama in 2009, but rejected a chance to perform for Trump in 2017 with reference to a scheduling conflict.

Gaga later took to Twitter to explain that the giant brooch that accompanies her Schiaparelli haute couture outfit was “a dove carrying an olive branch. May we all make peace with each other. “Lopez was in all-white Chanel, and Brooks really kept it in jeans, an open-collar black shirt and jacket.

While the podium was full of highly efficient star power, there was no doubt that a new star had also appeared: the 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, whose position and urgency when she recited “The Hill We Climb” captivated a global audience. .

None other than Bruce Springsteen launched the evening’s entertainment: “Celebrating America”, a 90-minute multi-network broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks who took the place of the usual official inauguration balls, with Biden and Harris watching and giving brief comments. Alone with his guitar, The Boss sang his “Land of Hope and Dreams” in front of the Lincoln Memorial. “I will provide for you and I will stand by your side,” he sang. “You need a good companion for this part of the journey.”

EM tweet – stepping stone

“This train carries lost souls. This train, dreams will not be hindered … This train, faith will be rewarded … ”

In the Shadow of the Lincoln Memorial: Bruce Springsteen – Land of Hope & Dreams pic.twitter.com/YOUeitzPZ9

– Vladimir Duthiers (@vladduthiersCBS) January 21, 2021

Hanks, also at the Lincoln Memorial, spoke of “deep divisions and a disturbing rancor in our country” in recent years. “But tonight we are thinking about the United States of America, the exercise of our democracy, the foundation of our republic, the integrity of our constitution, the hope and the dreams we all share for a more perfect union,” he said.

Jon Bon Jovi contributed a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” from Miami, and Ant Clemons and Justin Timberlake performed “Better Days” from Memphis. John Legend sang “Feeling Good” in Washington; Foo Fighters sang “Times Like These” in honor of teachers and Demi Lovato performed “Lovely Day” with doctors and nurses in Los Angeles.

A star-studded collection of Broadway’s most prominent musicals collaborated on a medley of “Seasons of Love” from the show “Rent” and “Let the Sun Shine In” from “Hair”, among them Christopher Jackson, Reéne Elise Goldsberry, Laura Benanti, Betty Buckley and Javier Muñoz. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda recited from “The Cure at Troy” by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

Recalled excerpts from remarkable inaugural addresses from history were basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, supervisor Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female manager in MLB history. Peppering musical performances among stories about ordinary Americans and their contributions, the show included tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher, and Sandra Lindsay, the first in New York to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial.

The trial ended with a lavish fireworks display in the night sky in Washington, which Biden (at the White House) and Harris (at the Lincoln Memorial) and their families saw – what else? – “Firework”, performed by Katy Perry.

The story of celebrities performing at inaugurations dates back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third inauguration in 1941, when a gala party the night before saw performances by Irving Berlin, Mickey Rooney and Charlie Chaplin, says Lina Mann from the White House Historical Society. “Chaplin performed his monologue from ‘The Great Dictator,'” Mann says.

The celebrity component only increased over time, and one of the most stellar inaugurations was John F. Kennedy in 1961. That party, hosted by Frank Sinatra, drew Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Laurence Olivier, Sidney Poitier and other celebrities.

Fast-forward to the first Obama inauguration in 2009, where Aretha Franklin sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at the graduation, and the new president and his wife, Michelle, were separated by Beyoncé, who sang “At Last” at an inauguration ball.