We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration

18 January, 2009 at 5:27 pm (Barack Obama, Concert, Historical Figure, Music, Politics, TV to Watch)

Update: HBO has made this available online; watch it here

– Malia taking her own pics with a digital camera from the presidential viewing booth
– Obama’s niece being passed out in the presidential viewing booth and sleeping through the whole show
– Mary J. Blige getting choked up after she was finished singing “Lean On Me”
– Jamie Foxx doing a pretty spot-on Barack Obama impersonation – and Barack cracking up at it
– Tom Hanks reading passages from the speeches of Lincoln. Though could anyone watch this part and not think of the part of “Forrest Gump” where Forrest speaks in front of the Vietnam war protesters at the Lincoln Memorial?
– The (seeming) contradiction of following up the quote from Reagan’s inaugural address with James Taylor’s “Shower the People You Love”. This isn’t the first song that comes to mind when I think of the Reagan years…
– Joe Biden apparently forgetting that they had a mic for him to use, and him figuring he had to shout for those at the end of the Mall to hear him. No so, Mr. Vice President-elect. The delivery was just awkward…I couldn’t even concentrate on what he was saying. On the flip side, he was less long-winded than usual!
– John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” actually being used appropriately. (see, THIS is what I think of when I think of Reagan’s administration!)
– A gay men’s chorus (?) backing Josh Groban and Heather Headley on “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”. (I need to check into this – but it was a choir of mostly white, middle aged men wearing red AIDS awareness ribbons. So I’m not really going out on a limb here.)
– Jack Black introducing Garth Brooks. Random!
– Garth Brooks singing “American Pie”. Awesome!
– Garth Brooks getting the thousands and thousands of people at the monument watching to join in singing and dancing to “Shout”
– Garth Brooks singing “We Shall Be Free”. (Though it was a shortened version, so the verse with the line about being able to love anyone you choose was cut. Darn.)
– Seriously, Garth Brooks was great. The man knows how to work a crowd. Why won’t he come out of retirement?
– The Obamas up and dancing to Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Shakira’s number
– U2 singing “Pride (In the Name of Love)”. That song just meant more on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on the eve of MLKJ Day.
– U2 singing “City of Blinding Lights” – this was one of Obama’s campaign songs, so cool seeing them do it live for him right before he actually becomes president.
– Bono does love to work a crowd. And people may get sick of him being political – but the man seems to really believe everything he says. You have to give him credit for that.
– The bald eagle being presented was kind of odd, though it did make me appreciate that we didn’t end up with the turkey as the national bird
– Obama’s speech. It was great, and it wasn’t even the “big” one.
– A big group, including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, singing “This Land is Your Land”. The whole thing. Oklahoma represent, ya’ll.
– The big finale, Beyonce leading everyone in singing “America the Beautiful”. I don’t know how you could hear that and not get chills.

Overall, it was a great show. It set the perfect tone for this new presidency…in fact, it almost seemed like the “people’s inauguration”. The real inauguration is important, and steeped in history – but this felt more modern, and more real. I’m curious to see how it measures up to today, and of course am anticipating Obama’s inauguration speech. I can’t wait!

Update:Here’s is Obama’s speech today:



  1. o8justiceforall said,

    Well, Obama steps into the roll on Tuesday… is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will this be not only a historical event in our history but a time to make promises of a candidacy actually come true? Please let me know your thoughts..


  2. Mom said,

    How did I miss this? I thought the celebration started WITH the inauguration! Guess I need to watch more TV.

  3. Rosella said,

    I saw what they showed on CNN but didn’t get to see the HBO deal. Hopefully it will be shown again and I can borrow Grandad’s tv to see the whole thing. I am excited for Tuesday and we will all have to sacrifice and be patient and helpful to make it work out. But he envelopes people in hope as well as reality, so perhaps we will give him the chance and the help he needs to get us back on the right track. God bless him, because he will need it. Enjoy the day…it is a great moment in history.

  4. Rachel said,


  5. Rachel said,

    Oh wait, HBO put it online. HAPPY AGAIN.

  6. adayinthelyfe said,

    Really, I don’t think they did a good enough job advertising it. I only had heard of it a few days before, and then I got a text “from” Obama just the day before saying that it was free for everyone (that HBO was making itself free for the show). I think they should have made people more aware of that!

    That said, I’m sure they’ll either make it available online, or sell a DVD. And if they sell that DVD, rest assured that I will buy it 🙂

  7. adayinthelyfe said,

    haha you texted that second thing after I had already responded! Too funny.

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