Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris as Vice President, on January 20—and several rock musicians, including Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters, delivered special performances to celebrate.
Standing in the cold before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, Springsteen performed a solo acoustic rendition of “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a longtime live staple that The Boss finally recorded for his 2012 album Wrecking Ball.
Springsteen’s performance opened the Inauguration Day event Celebrating America, which also featured Foo Fighters, who performed “Times Like These.” Dave Grohl dedicated it to Mackenzie Adams, a kindergarten teacher in Washington state whose energetic virtual lessons went viral last year, and other teachers in the US.
Grohl said that Adams reminded him of his own mother Virgina, who was a public school teacher for 35 years, as well as longtime educator and now-First Lady Dr Jill Biden. “This year, our teachers were faced with unprecedented challenges, but through dedication and creativity, they faced those challenges head on,” he said. “This next song is for Mackenzie and all our unshakeable teachers who continue to enlighten our nation’s kids every day.”
Perhaps the most unexpected rock performance marking the Biden-Harris inauguration was the live reunion of the long-inactive alternative rock outfit New Radicals. The band, led by frontman Gregg Alexander, got back together 22 years after their split to perform their hit single “You Get What You Give,” which they’d learned was a favorite of the Biden family (particularly Joe’s late son Beau) and was used by the Biden campaign in promotional videos.
“We pledged if Joe [Biden] won, we’d get together and play our little song both in memory and in honor of our new president’s patriot son Beau,” Alexander explained in an introduction video. “And also with the prayer of Joe being able to bring our country together again with compassion, honesty and justice for a change.”
Pop stars also lent their talents to the Biden-Harris inauguration, with Lady Gaga singing the national anthem and more. Watch all three of the rock performances below.
“Land of Hopes and Dreams,” Bruce Springsteen:
“Times Like These,” Foo Fighters:
“You Get What You Give,” New Radicals: