Hey! Barack Obama
or HBO, for short…
Watched the “We Are One” inaugural event thing yesterday, and it was an interesting spectacle.
Somebody decided it was a grand idea to start things off with FDR’s “All we have to fear is fear itself” moment. Good, good. Hit ‘em with the notion of another depression. Good start.
The music all appeared to be Obama Ipod setlist stuff- Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, James frackin’ Taylor- which did feature Atlanta songwriter Jennifer Nettles, but still bit. Incredibly, there was house rockin’ Betty LaVette, tearing up “A Change Is Gonna Come” joined even more unbelievably by Jon Bon Jovi. Why? Hair can’t sing, and he looked completely out of his league- and knew it.
U2, in all their pompous glory pumped out “Pride in the Name of Love” with your textbook Bono bleating heart sanctimony, name checking of course Ireland, Africa, Israel, and even, after a moment of furrowed brow angst, Palestine. What a windbag.
Nice moment of Marian Anderson, who, having been denied the rights to sing inside like a human by the DAR, singing the hell out of “My Country, Tis of Thee” in a scratchy black and white newsreel. Very moving. So what sort of egotist thinks that singing that song live would be anything but a complete farce, in comparison? Why, that would be he’s so cute Josh Groban. Whatta moron.
Garth Brooks, showing that he spent his years since retirement at a Krispy Kreme, for some reason doing “American Pie”, which, the last time I checked, was a rather depressing fucking song, but hey, it says “America” in it, whatever.
Herbie Hancock appeared to be utterly lost behind his Fender Rhodes piano, in the wrong key for “One Love” with Sheryl Crow and will.getarealname.i.am, who graced us with some unintelligible rap gibberish- I guess the lyrics of Bob Marley ain’t good enough for some folk.
But the greatest moment was 89 year old Pete Seeger closing out the day with Springsteen on our true national anthem, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”. Now that brought a lump to the throat of even the most jaded viewer, which would be me- and made sitting through the other crap a bit tolerable.
Now that is America, my friends.