In the past, the presidential inauguration has held performances by A-list celebrities such as Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and U2. to name a few. However, such iconic vocalists did not want to perform at this year’s event, and with a lack of willing performers to choose from, this year’s inauguration concert resulted in a subpar set list to say the least.
The artists that performed at the “Make America Great Again” concert (held a day prior to the inauguration) included 3 Doors Down – a band name I haven’t heard of since their song “Here Without You” in third grade – Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood.
The National Anthem was sung by Jackie Evancho on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, which I thought was very well done. Following the Inauguration Day festivities were three Official Inauguration Balls, all held during the evening. The president attended these inaugural balls beginning at 7 p.m. at the Washington Convention Center.
The Armed Services Ball, the first of the three, began with an opening performance of the national anthem, followed by an invocation performed by the Color Guard.
The Liberty Ball and the Freedom Ball followed and included various performances to welcome and celebrate the new president into office.
The first performance was gospel artist Travis Greene, accompanied by Chrisette Michele and Washington D.C.’s own Abundant Life Choir.
The Grammy Award winning artist performed the song “Intentional,” that won in the category of Best Gospel Performance/Song in 2016.
The Jim Gray Orchestra and Erin Boheme were introduced next as the music hosts for the ball, followed by a jazz ensemble performance.
The host would perform other “popular” songs as well during the ball, which included a lot of Frank Sinatra covers. To me, it sounded very much like a bad wedding band. However, the Radio City Rockettes, who in my opinion are timeless and never disappoint, followed her first performance.
Following them, a 9-member family band, called Pelican 212 performed their own version of Smash Mouth’s, “I’m A Believer,” and “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” which was definitely not my favorite performance of the evening.
The idea of a family band to welcome the new POTUS had a lot of potential, yet the song choices perplexed me. Country artist, Tim Rushlow & His Big Band kicked off the Freedom Ball, who earlier performed in the “Make America Great Again” concert on Thursday to welcome the president to office.
The Piano Guys, a four-man group who cover a combination of classical and pop music with various instruments, performed multiple songs including One Directions’ “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful,” “Amazing Grace” and Rachel Platton’s, “Fight Song.”
I personally thought the renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “Fight Song” were well done. Ironically, “Fight Song” was also performed during Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, yet when the group was questioned about this they responded via Twitter stating it “had nothing to do with Hilary Clinton or politics …”
The Rockettes also performed again at the Freedom Ball. Next, Michael Flatley, an Irish dancer and choreographer performed an Irish dance accompanied by a larger group.
Again, another strange performance for what could be considered as a notable event in American history .
Regardless, 81-year-old Sam Moore took the stage towards the end of the ball in an attempt to save the show and bring some life back to the audience. The United States Navy Band then played at the Armed Services Ball to introduce President Trump and the First Lady to the stage.
Trump called the band “great talent” and for this I’d have to agree with him. Following his short address to the audience, the two took their first dance to a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
This song choice seemingly fits the mood of Trump’s misogynist takeover and self-obsessed attitudes, while I presume Sinatra did not have the same mindset about the song.
Overall, the performances for this inauguration were incomparable to the vocal talent we have seen in the past. Yet, this doesn’t come as much as a surprise because of the candidate we are welcoming into office.