Inauguration Watch Video: Springsteen Warms up the Crowd
He was barely visible on the stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial today, a distant image who was noticeable mostly for the bright red scarf he was wearing. But when he strummed the guitar and led a chorus through a rendition of “The Rising,” the several hundred people who had begun to gather knew from the the unmistakeable singing voice that it was Bruce Springsteen.
And so began Springsteen’s sound check for Sunday’s welcome concert that will formally kick off the inaugural festivities leading up to President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in Tuesday. Springsteen wasn’t the only A-list star to surprise the crowd, which braved 20-degree temperatures to have a listen. John Mellencamp and Mary J. Blige also warmed up their vocal cords.
The question is, however, what the estimated 500,000 who will attend Sunday’s show at 2:30 p.m. are able to see. There are bleachers blocking views from the sides of the stage, and in front are dozens of rows of seats for VIPs and special guests. Equipment for the HBO broadcast also block some of the view. The rest of the crowd likely will have a hard time getting a good view, and the one Jumbotron (on the left-hand side if one is facing the Memorial) will only go so far.
But the crowd today wasn’t too bummed. They hummed along in pleasant spirits and groaned a little when Springsteen quickly left the stage afterward.
David A Nakamura
January 17, 2009; 5:37 PM ET
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