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 and serenade the next president.
Performers including U2, 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.