WASHINGTON — The only thing more impressive than the sheer number of celebrities who made it to Washington for the inauguration is the fact that they all seemed to be getting along.
Sunday's “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial drew both members of the Hollywood elite and some of the country’s best musicians, from Stevie Wonder to Josh Groban.
Typically, when you get that many personalities in one production, there’s a clashing of the egos, but by all accounts, everyone just got along.
Part of this might be due to the fact that the musical acts were really traveling light. Bruce Springsteen opened the show with “The Rising,” and he was backed by only a choir — no sets or anything fancy.
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Ditto Jon Bon Jovi, who sang a fantastic duet of “Change is Gonna Come” with Bettye LaVette. In fact, the only musical act to have its own set was U2, which did leave some musical management scratching their heads.
“No one else brought their entire band like Bono did,” said one publicist working with other acts involved in the inaugural celebrations.
One of the more lighthearted moments of the concert was when Jamie Foxx took to the podium opposite Steve Carrell and did a spot-on impersonation of Barack Obama delivering a quote from his election night speech.
The monitor facing the mall showed Malia Obama giggling with her dad, proving that the First Family-to-be both approved of Foxx’s impression, and didn’t mind him stealing the spotlight for a few moments.
Other notable moments you might have missed:
- The VIP section just in front of the stage was decidedly low-key. Blair Underwood and his family were there, as was Jay-Z and Angela Bassett.
- U2 was the only act to sing two songs, which could explain the whole why-they-got-to-bring-the-band thing, and in between “(Pride) In the Name of Love” and “City of Blinding Lights,” Bono addressed the President-elect directly saying, “Four Irish boys from the north side of Dublin honor you, Barack Obama…”
- One of the most fun moments of the show was when Garth Brooks, who sang a medley that began with “American Pie” segued into “Shout,” and everyone filling the mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, got on their feet.
The concert was a great official kickoff event, but it isn’t the only game in town. REM’s Michael Stipe was at a low-key cocktail party thrown by Christopher Hitchens Jan. 17, the same night Jamie Foxx hung out in the Hennessy Tent at the Radio One Inaugural Ball.
Our first Oprah sighting!
Oprah finally made a public appearance Sunday night. While crews were putting the finishing touches on her set for Monday’s “Oprah Winfrey Show” at the Kennedy Center, Oprah made a brief appearance at a party thrown by the Washington Post.
Scoring a ticket for Monday’s show remains the talk of D.C. Initially only 2,000 seats were up for grabs: half went to VIPs and the other to a lottery. Bad news for some of those who scored lottery seats — the build-out at the Kennedy Center didn’t yield as many spots as was originally planned, and now some ticket holders are said to be on standby.
A-list forced to wait list
Standby was the theme Sunday night. Not even Tom Hanks could get into a party thrown by Maureen Dowd at her home in Georgetown, and at a party for the Impact Film Fund, the line at 1 a.m. snaked all the way down the sidewalk.
Inside, though, I spoke to Lisa Edelstein of “House.” Edelstein’s journey to Washington from L.A. involved one emergency landing and 17 hours of travel; saying she was happy to be here is an understatement. Had to pump her for some info for the rest of the season of “House” (one of my favorite shows) and she said, “Cuddy’s got a baby now and House gets really, really, jealous.” Can’t wait.
Sarah Silverman was also there (sans Jimmy Kimmel), Jessica Alba was seated near her, and Nelly performed.
Later Monday, I’ve got lunch with Amy Brenneman and Ed Harris, then on to the party and ball circuit. Per usual keep checking back for updates.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com.
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