There was this concert last Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The program was on HBO, but it was to made free to anyone with basic cable. From what I’ve read, a number of cable companies didn’t get the word to unscramble HBO, though that was the intent. I know my cable was asking for a PIN number (yes, I know “PIN number” is redundant); Time Warner told me it is the “universal default” number, 0000, and it was.
In any case, the We Are One concert is on the HBO website for free. It runs just under two hours, and starts with Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, which was reportedly excised from the broadcast; Robinson is openly gay. From time to time, I had a buffering problem, so I decided to see if I could find at least the pop music performances on YouTube, and I did. The ones from, I think, Groban/Headley on are from one person and are pretty good quality. The earlier videos are of various folks and quality; at least one jittery video was obviously taken by someone actually at the show, not dependent on a TV feed.
Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner
Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given Monuments or Memorials
Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. The choir is very effective.
Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III: F.D.R and John F. Kennedy
Mary J. Blige “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy – Foxx imitates Obama.
Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – LaVette blows away Bon Jovi
Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln
Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan
James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles “Shower the People” by James Taylor. I’m old, because I liked it.
Joe Biden Speech
John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson
Josh Groban and Heather Headley “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan
Herbie Hancock, will.i.am and Sheryl Crow “One Love” by Bob Marley
Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces
Renee Fleming “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt
Garth Brooks “American Pie” by Don McLean/”Shout” (Isley Brothers)/”We Shall Be Free” (Garth Brooks). The new Commander-in-Chief knows at least some of the lyrics to American Pie.
Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner
Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder. A number of people suggested that Shakira was the worst performer of the day. One YouTube person wondered who that guy was playing keyboards was – it was Stevie.
Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham
Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
U2 “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Pride, especially in that setting, was particularly moving. City, I read recently, is reportedly on Obama’s iPod.
Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Pete’s voice is shot (though his grandson Tao’s is strong), but it was very moving to hear those verses one doesn’t usually hear:
“In the squares of the city – By the shadow of the steeple
By the relief office – I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wonderin
If this land’s still made for you and me.”
“There was a big high wall there – that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted – it said private property;
But on the other side – it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.”
“Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking – that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”
Beyonce “America the Beautiful”. A suitable ending.