I just came back from the Inaugural concert by the Lincoln Memorial. The concert was a truly amazing event that reflected the new and changing face of America.
The concert was packed but everybody was in good spirits. A video of the song, This Little Light of Mine was an excellent way to keep the patient crowd involved. Jazz Legend Winton Marsalis showed off his skills in a pre-recorded video. Elmo had a a tape for the kids too. The restless crowd began to yell Obama’s call for hope and change as a chant.
When the concert started a little kid was trampled but not hurt as the crowd rushed to the front. Denzel Washington was the first to speak. Malcolm X may have never got to speak at the Lincoln memorial but the guy who played him did. Bruce Springsteen had an incredible performance of the rising with an all black Gospel choir. It seemed like every white artist had a gospel choir with them. I’m not mad, I love the Boss.
Martin Luther King’s son spoke at the same place his father did 40 years ago for the I Have a Dream Speech. Mary J Blige came out to a funky reggae version of Lean On Me. Jamie Foxx cracked the audience up with a dead on Obama imitation before Jon Bon Jovi did a good job of singing Sam Cooke’s civil rights classic, A Change Gone Come with Regina Belle.
Tom Hanks spoke at the same place he did when he ran through the reflecting pool to chace Jenny in Forrest Gump. John Legen and James Taylor gave a soulful if subdued performance together, before John Cougar Mellencamp performed his modern American classic, Ain’t that America.
It was real dope to hear Hebie Hancock perform the Bob Marley clasic, One Love. For the song of a marijuana smoking, rastafarian rebel to be performed at the celebration of our new American president was a truly awesome thing.
I won’t even front. Garth Brooks rocked the crowd hard with performances of American Pie and shout. He has crazy crowd control and swagger. Not sure why he got more time than the other artists but he used his time effectively.
I was a bit disappointed with Stevie Wonder’s performance. He seemed to lack his normal energy and Usher and Shakira didn’t help. I’m not sure why he didn’t perform Signed Sealed, Delivered, maybe he’s waiting till the inauguration.
THe highlight of the evening is when Pete Seger performed. For those unfamiliar with Seeger, he was a revolutionary folk singer who was persecuted by the American government because he was involved with the labor movement and the Communist party. The fact that he performed at Obama’s inaugural concert was a truly amazing thing. Seeger is one of my heroes. If you don’t know him you know his songs. He helped popularize We shall Overcome, The Lion SLeep Tonight and Guantanamera. He used his music to fight for oppressed people. I could write about him all day. Just google him.
The torch has been passed to a new generation with new songs of America. If the concert was any indication of the change Obama will bring, we should all be very optimistic about the future of our country.