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Watch History on TV Today, Almost Wherever You Turn
January 19, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 
WE-ARE-ONE-finale-this-land.jpgToday, Jan. 20, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama becomes President Obama, the 44th President of the United States. It's THE show to watch today, wherever you decide to watch it. See BIANCULLI'S BEST BETS for some recommended options.

Let me know where you watched, and what you thought and felt, and I'll do the same.

Meanwhile, I'll extend, because of yesterday's holiday, my pictorial review of Sunday's HBO Inaugural celebration concert special, We Are One.

Here's a quick snapshot album of that day's best and brightest moments...

All told, I'd have only two criticisms, both minor.

WE-ARE-ONE-Seeger-Springste.jpg

First, there were some microphone problems in a few of the numbers, especially the crucial moment (above) when Pete Seeger, Seeger's grandson and Bruce Springsteen fronted a large choir on "This Land is Your Land."

Second, I regret that James Taylor, given the Lincoln Memorial setting and the proximity to today's national holiday, wasn't given time, and one of those massive choirs, to sing "Shed a Little Light," his gorgeous gospel ode to the slain civil rights leader:

"Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King,
And recognize that there are ties between us,
All men and women
Living on the earth,
Ties of hope and love,
Sister and brotherhood,

"That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong,
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead.
We are bound, and we are bound."

And that's just the intro. Hope he gets to sing it in Washington, D.C. today, somewhere.

WE-ARE-ONE-Springsteen-w-ch.jpg

As for the concert itself, there were plenty of delights, and unashamedly emotional moments. Here's a fast scrapbook:

Springsteen, backed by a choir, starting things off with a super rendition of "The Rising."

 

WE-ARE-ONE-Foxx-as-Obama.jpg WE-ARE-ONE-Obama-laughing-a.jpg

Jamie Foxx, who spoke rather than sang, slaying the crowd at the Mall -- and causing Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden to erupt in genuinely boisterous laughter -- by doing a pitch-perfect impersonation of Obama. Fred Armisen, pay attention. Foxx has it DOWN.

WE-ARE-ONE-Tom-hanks-Aaron-.jpg

Tom Hanks read Lincoln's words, passionately, while the orchestra played Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" -- and while HBO's cameras, at one point, showed an astounding shot of the Washington Mall from Hanks' point of view. Performances were joyful -- no more so than Springsteen and Seeger, generational icons making a perfect partnership.

WE-ARE-ONE-Stevie-Wonder.jpg WE-ARE-ONE-Beyonce-Am-Beaut.jpg


But what a lineup: Stevie Wonder. Beyonce, singing "America the Beautiful." Bono and U2, singing "In the Name of Love." And for American symbolism, you had an American eagle on one hand -- on the hand of a trainer -- and a grateful Barack Obama on the other.

WE-ARE-ONE-eagle.jpg WE-ARE-ONE-Obama.jpg

Today, we remember history. Tomorrow, history continues.

 

1 Comment

 

Elise said:

I don't remember previous inaugurations...not even Clinton's, but I am watching as absolutely as much as I can of this one...starting with last night.... I was watching with my children (all 3 under 12) and I was blubberin' away.... Maybe someday they will understand......

Comment posted on January 19, 2009 3:57 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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