Obama smiles and waves 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Under the gaze of Abraham Lincoln's statue, Bruce Springsteen and a red-robed gospel choir kicked off a spirited preinaugural concert Sunday before tens of thousands on the National Mall.
The crowd erupted in cheers when Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived, walking down the steps of the memorial, and kept applauding for the high-energy Springsteen act and the performances that followed.
There was no red carpet, but the event had the feel of a Hollywood awards ceremony, with stars taking the stage to praise, serenade, and even impersonate the next US president. Performers including Bono, Beyonce and James Taylor were on the bill.
A crowd expected to reach up to a half-million was stretched past the reflecting pool separating the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Obama and his wife and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, sat behind bullet-proof glass near the stage erected on the steps of the memorial.
Denzel Washington was the first celebrity to speak, telling the crowd, "we are all in this together."
Another speaker was actor Tom Hanks, who as Forrest Gump famously gave a speech at the monument steps and jumped into the reflecting pool. This time, he appeared in a dark suit and read a somber tribute to Abraham Lincoln.
The crowd threw its hands up for Garth Brooks's thumping rendition of "Shout!" supported by a massive choir wearing red and blue jackets against the cold. The crowd, including Obama and Biden, were writhing when Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Shakira pumped out Wonder's classic "Higher Ground." Sheryl Crow and will.i.am performed "One Love," and golf great Tiger Woods, the son of a military man, urged the audience to remember the sacrifices of military families.