Lincoln Memorial Concert Kicks Off Festivities. My grandmother's birthday was Wednesday so we had lunch for her today, and I'm so out of the loop that I was like, "There's a concert? Oh, right, it would be Tuesday... it's not? It's tonight? Oh, wait, it's this afternoon? Oh, it's about to come on now?" So we sat around with cake and ice cream and watched it on HBO (Fox News was in a righteous froth that they would only be allowed to film a couple of minutes. "THEY EVEN KICKED OUT C-SPAN!!"). I had absolutely no idea who would be there, so every time a new presenter came up, it was this guessing game of Which Randomly Chosen Celebrity This Time? Because they had v. srs speakers like Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, and then Steve Carell and Jamie Foxx were up together, and then... Kal Penn? Jack Black? That was... odd. I mean, there was some weirdly chosen stuff like that--"Marian Anderson wasn't allowed to sing at Constitution Hall, so... here's Josh Groban with the song she performed here!" And Bettye LaVette was singing "We Are One" and... Jon Bon Jovi strolls out? Weird. I mean, I appreciate the thought; I'm just not sure how they arrived at the results half the time. I did like that the whole thing wasn't omg so srs duets (although there were a lot of those), that John Mellencamp got out there and tore up "Pink Houses," but then Garth Brooks was allowed to showboat for three songs? One of which was "Shout"? As in, "You make me wanna"? What? And then U2 CAME OUT HOLY SHIT THEY GOT U2 BEST INAUGURATION EVER. For some reason I'd assumed they'd have only American performers, so that was awesome. U2 played "Pride (In the Name of Love)," of course, and then "City of Blinding Lights," and I wish they'd thrown in "Where the Streets Have No Name" just so no one could say that Garth Brooks rocked longer than they did, but Bono wandered over stage left and sat down on the steps before he was even done with the second song so... you gotta rest up for these things, man. Also, he felt compelled to namedrop Israel and Palestine, which I'm sure will give Fox News hours of outraged entertainment.
ETA: Holy crap, I forgot to even tell you about the two eagles they trotted out. They had soldiers standing at attention and then a handler brought out "Challenger," turned around in a circle while everyone stared, and held on for dear life while the eagle tried to fly away. And the eagle kept glaring into the camera like, I'D RATHER GO EXTINCT. And then they brought out "Challenger's friend, Mr. Lincoln," and I don't know what kind of "friend" Mr. Lincoln was but you know, look, that's cool, I don't judge, and they did the beauty pageant turn with Mr. Lincoln as well, and then Samuel L. Jackson came out all like "THAT EAGLE AIN'T DONE SHIT TO YOU! PUT THAT FUCKING EAGLE DOWN!" or whatever. It was strange, to say the least.