Crowds and Celebs Alike Pack We Are One Inaugural Kick-Off Concert
Shakira, Stevie Wonder and Usher
Beyonce, U2, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Jamie Foxx, Garth Brooks and Jack Black were among the many celebrities who participated in Barack Obama's inaugural kick-off concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.
More than 300,000 people gathered to celebrate with readings, speeches and appearances, including Springsteen's performance of "The Rising," a song often used on Obama's campaign trail.
In the spirit of the concert's theme, We Are One, the afternoon was marked by unusual pairings of people at the mic. Steve Carell and Foxx, for example, appeared together for a pair of readings (plus a few laughs), while James Taylor, John Legend and country singer Jennifer Nettles performed "Shower the People." Later on, Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker spoke together about the importance of poets, after which Usher and Shakira performed "Higher Ground," with Stevie Wonder on keyboard.
The event was also punctuated by nods to history. John Adams star Laura Linney introduced a video of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the start of concert, while Samuel L. Jackson appeared later with words about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the movement they started. U2 performed "Pride (In the Name of Love)" as a tribute to the late civil rights leader.
Obama also addressed the throngs of people gathered around the Reflecting Pool.
"I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure — that the dream of our founders will live on in our time," he said.
Backed by a choir, Springsteen returned to the stage with Seeger to jam out "This Land Is Your Land."
Beyonce, who will perform "At Last" for Obama's first presidential dance with his wife on Tuesday night, closed the two-hour concert with a rousing rendition of "America the Beautiful," while the day's performers and guests joined her on stage for a sing-along.