Bruce Springsteen kicks off Obama pre-inauguration celebration

President-elect looks on as Mary J Blige, Bon Jovi perform in Washington DC

Bruce Springsteen kicked off the ‘We Are One’ Obama Inaugural Celebration concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC today (January 18) as president-elect Barack Obama and his family looked on.

The star-studded event officially opens the inauguration festivities leading up to Obama‘s inauguration as the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday (January 20).

The Boss, dressed all in black and strumming an acoustic guitar, was backed by an all-female gospel choir wearing red robes. They sang Springsteen‘s ‘The Rising’ on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. They were introduced by actor Denzel Washington, who said, “Music has always been the great heartbeat of the American experience.”


Following brief speeches by actress Laura Linney and Martin Luther King Jr III, Mary J. Blige sang Bill Withers‘Lean On Me’, and John Bon Jovi joined Bettye LaVette for a duet.

Stay tuned to NME.COM for extensive coverage of the ‘We Are One‘ concert as well as other inaugural musical events throughout the week.

–By our Los Angeles staff.

Find out more about NME.