The Boss Welcomes Obama To The White House + Other Inaugural News

Lucas Jensen | January 8, 2009 12:30 pm

The Washington Post is reporting that Bruce Springsteen and that something street band of his will play welcoming committee for Barack Obama’s inauguration when they perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18. OK, I don’t want to get all fanboy up in here, but that’s totally amazing. To see one of my musical heroes play where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech, celebrating the inauguration of the nation’s first black president? Oh, man. This gives my little liberal self a case of the vapors!

(takes some deep breaths)

Anyway, it looks to be pretty close to a done deal, and it’s not surprising, given The Boss’ support of Obama during the campaign, not to mention the fortuitous timing of his new album and Super Bowl gig.

I’ve noticed a real uptick in people caring who plays the Inauguration this year, and I reckon it’s because there is a potential for actual good, non-Martina McBride artists to play the thing. The American Music Inaugural Ball is split into two events: the Urban Ball and the Legends Ball. The Legends Ball is hosted by psychic friend Dionne Warwick and gospel star Yolanda Adams, and the lineup is filled with… er, legends. It’s a pretty nice list: Dennis Edwards of the Temptations, Chaka Khan, George Clinton, Marvin Sapp, Peter, Paul & Mary, Nancy Wilson, Chuck Jackson, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Kirk Franklin, Taraji Henson, the H.B. Barnum Orchestra, the Caravans, Smokie Norful, and Tito Puente, Jr.

Wait. Is Taraji Henson a legend now? She was pretty good in Hustle and Flow and all, and I guess she was alright in the disappointing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I like how they sneaked her in the middle of some honest-to-goodness legends while we weren’t looking. That’s a classic press release maneuver!

The Urban Ball is hosted by Big Boi and controversial Obama supporter Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and features T-Pain, David Banner, Athena Cage, Cedric The Entertainer, The Cheetah Girls, Fantasia, Monica, Bella Steez, Latin American Idol winner Carlos Pena, Goapele, and Bobby Valentino. Is it weird that I’d be more excited about the Legend Ball?

Here’s where it gets a little strange. “Fab Fiver” and NBA analyst Jalen Rose and noted actor/gay-hater Isaiah Washington will “Rock the Ball for Barack” in a segment at the Urban Ball, which, as far as I can tell, means that some NBA players are going to sign a basketball and give it to Obama, along with a videotaped message. Wow! That’s using your celebrity to do some good! Forget the economy and Gaza and everything else bad in the world… y’all signed a basketball and gave it to the President-Elect. Good job, everybody. Your work here is done!

Sources: Springsteen to Perform at Inaugural Welcome Event [Washington Post]ESPN Studio Analyst Jalen Rose Gears up to “Rock The Ball For Barack” at the Upcoming 2009 American Music Inaugural Ball Hosted by Music Legend Dionne Warwick [Business Wire]