On any other inaugural week in Washington, DC, the city would fill with people in a festive atmosphere. Celebrities flew, some in private jets, to take the stage for a pre-swearing-in concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Cher recalled that when she was there in 2009, “people, strangers that I didn’t know were running around Georgetown hugging and kissing, and they were so thrilled because we were going in a new direction.
The pandemic and, more recently, significant security threats forced a drastically reduced inauguration, limiting personal action and, in the case of the fenced-in National Mall, everyone.
Instead, the inaugural committee of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris put together a list of virtual programs this week, including Sunday night’s We the People concert, featuring Cher, James Taylor, Ben Harper, Barbra Streisand. , Will.i.am, Fall Out Boy and DJ Cassidy, among others. It certainly wasn’t the show of U2 and Bruce Springsteen performing in front of tens of thousands of people, but thanks to the reinvented Democratic National Convention, we’re now used to the privacy of living room solos. (as was the case with a highlight, Carole King at the piano with You have a friend).
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Hosted by Keegan-Michael Key and Debra Messing, Biden made brief remarks with Jill Biden, and Harris spoke to Doug Emhoff, mainly to thank the supporters.
One person who was not mentioned: Donald Trump. Instead, the performers spoke of hope and unity, making only oblique references to the Capitol siege last week and general statements about the dire state of affairs. They avoided the rhetoric of Twitter worms.
“The past four years have left our nation deeply divided, with too many people ignoring the facts, science and laws that support democratic institutions,” said Barbra Streisand, before presenting an excerpt from her song. Happy days are back.
“You both have the empathy that we need now more than ever, and together we will come out of those dark days into the light,” she added.
“Let’s celebrate the moment we turn the page on this era of division and turn the page on a brighter future,” said Kal Penn.
Dear sang I hope you will find, but introduced the song by addressing Biden directly, recalling their friendship.
“Everyone knows you are compassionate, but I know you are tough,” she said. “And I know you are the man.”
She added, “I” am so happy and I am so happy for Vice President Harris. I wanted you to be the president since 2006. But now is the right time. It’s your time. “
Schedule of We the People concerts
Keegan-Michael Key and Debra Messing, hosts
Ben Harper, With my two hands
Barbra Streisand, Happy days are back (clip)
William, American dream
Carole King, Yyou have a friend
James Taylor, America the beautiful
Fall out Boy, Centuries
Expensive, I hope you will find