I had to go to the intertubes to get the Gene Robinson invocation (it didn’t make it on the HBO coverage), so here it is, shot from a camcorder. (Apparently Robinson’s reference to “a God of many understandings” in an NPR interview is proof to some wingnuts that he was praying to Lucifer.) Robinson was very conscious, he said, of how “aggressively Christian” so many of these prayers can be, and he strove to avoid that.
All in all, it was a pretty good show. It was made better, I am sure, by the comfort of my living room couch, which left me with great sympathy for those playing guitar in the freezing cold (a facebook friend suggested that horn players have their own set of unique challenges in those circumstances).
I thought Garth Brooks was entertaining, although the butchering of American Pie was a bit disconcerting; Bruce Springsteen was great twice (and it was wonderful to see Pete Seeger up onstage); and Beyonce did a wonderful finale. So, until Youtube pulls them (I wish they were public domain, but the Inaugural Committee actually has the copyright), here goes.
UPDATE: HBO is pulling these as fast as they find them, so hurry up. Did I mention that I find it obscene that these clips aren’t considered part of the public domain?
Bruce Springsteen sings The Rising:
Renee Fleming perfomrs You’ll Never Walk Alone:
Garth Brooks medley:
Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger et al perform This Land is Your Land, with, as Mike Kazin points out, the two normally excised “radical” verses left in:
Finally, Beyonce wraps it up with America the Beautiful and a star-studded curtain call. Look for Malia Obama snapping away on her digital camera when the VIP box is in view:
Happy Martin Luther King day. And a happier tomorrow.